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Letter from the Chair, Autumn 2022

Submitted by Natalie Mc Martinez on September 15, 2022 - 9:29am
  • John Wilkerson
    John Wilkerson, Chair
  • Political Science Convocation Procession
    Political Science Convocation Procession
  • Ryan Fritsch
    Ryan Fritsch
  • Political Science Convocation Students
    Political Science Convocation Students
  • Political Science Convocation Audience
    Political Science Convocation Audience

It’s the start of a new school year with lots of developments and activities to report! In June, we had our department’s Convocation on the Quad. Having it outdoors was a risky move - June weather in Seattle is – shall we say – variable. The day before it was raining buckets. The morning of the event the sun emerged right as Neil the Bagpiper [] led the graduates down the quad, through the cherry trees and past about 1000 of their family and friends. Our distinguished alumnus, Ryan Fritsch (class of 2012), inspired and entertained with his account of how he combined his interests in environmental protection and entrepreneurship to co-found the Seattle company Cloud Paper []. Shortly after the ceremony, it started raining again, so all in all a very good day!

The opening up of campus this past spring also enabled us to finally celebrate the careers of three retiring Professors, Jim Caporaso, W. Lance Bennett, and Karen Litfin. Many former students shared fond memories and we all learned some new things about our colleagues. My favorite part was canoeing at the Waterfront Activities Center at Karen’s invitation. I had no idea there was such a wildlife haven so close to campus.

There’s a lot happening this autumn as well. The UW Public lecture series has some very interesting speakers this year, including our own Jake Grumbach, who will be giving two election-related lectures on November 2 and January 18. Jake’s pathbreaking new book examining how state politics have become increasingly nationalized was just published and is receiving a lot of press coverage.

In addition, our fall Faculty Panel (sponsored by the undergraduate honors society, Pi Sigma Alpha) will follow the election and focus on the implications of the results for state and local policy and the upcoming 2024 Presidential elections.

Finally, we welcome Margaret Brower as a new Assistant Professor in the department. Margaret received her Ph.D at the University of Chicago and is completing a post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard. She also recently learned that her dissertation was awarded the American Political Science Association’s Harold D. Lasswell Award for the best dissertation in the field of public policy. Quite an accomplishment!