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GeekWire: Startup leaders say President Young’s departure won’t slow UW entrepreneurial momentum

younguwstartuphall11-620x413GeekWire interviews Matt McIlwain (Managing Director at Madrona Venture Group), Chris DeVore (Managing Director of Techstars Seattle, operating inside UW’s Startup Hall), Connie Bourassa-Shaw (director of UW’s Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship), and Ed Lazowska (UW CSE) regarding the departure of UW President Michael Young, who has been a champion for innovation and entrepreneurship.

McIlwain: “My hope is that the Regents continue to emphasize the importance of how the UW intersects with the commercial and non-profit world in their selection of an interim and then new President.”

DeVore: “Calling it Young’s legacy is probably not giving the institution enough credit.”

Bourassa-Shaw: “Entrepreneurship and innovation have been flourishing across the University of Washington for more than a decade.”

Lazowska: “I hope the tech community will support us through this transition, as it has always supported us in the past.”

Read the article here.

Lazowska’s full remarks to GeekWire:

“I don’t want to minimize the role of the President or the impact that Mike Young has had.

“But UW is one of the nation’s and the world’s top universities. And it is a huge operation: 55,000 students, 4,300 teaching faculty, 16 schools and colleges (plus 2 branch campuses), and an annual budget of $6.3 billion (only $250 million of which comes from the state).

“One person does not run an enterprise of this scale. Ana Mari Cauce, our superb Provost, has been Mike Young’s partner since he arrived. She, like I, has devoted her entire career to UW – she’s not going anywhere. Paul Jenny, our superb Vice Provost for Planning & Budgeting, is not going anywhere. Mary Lidstrom, our superb Vice Provost for Research, is not going anywhere. Entrepreneurship and innovation is firmly in the hands of Vikram Jandhyala, our superb Vice Provost for Innovation, who’s not going anywhere. The 16 Deans and 2 Branch Campus Chancellors are not going anywhere. And all of these people would quickly agree that the Administration Building is not where the work of the University gets done – it’s in the trenches, where the faculty, students, and staff carry out the discovery, teaching, and outreach that’s our mission.

“I’ve been at UW through 6 Presidents and 2 Acting Presidents. Some were extraordinary (such as Bill Gerberding, who passed away last month). Some were downright goofy (such as Dick McCormick, who walked the plank in 2003). The trajectory of UW, and in particular the trajectory of Computer Science & Engineering, has always been upwards. That’s not going to change. I hope the tech community will support us through this transition, as it has always supported us in the past.”