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Why I Give: Peg Achterman, ‘82

One of the more familiar faces in the last two decades at any UW rowing event – you name it – is Peg Achterman ’82.  Whether it is volunteering at the Steward’s Enclosure at the Windermere Cup, flipping burgers on Class Day, or representing her class at Steward’s meetings, she is a mainstay among the alumni supporting the program.

In addition to her time, Peg consistently gives to the program, and has also included Washington Rowing in her will as part of the Forever Washington legacy program.  We asked her recently about her experience as an athlete at Washington, her greatest influences, and why she gives back:

What was your most memorable moment as a Husky? 

Cal Dual in 1981 on Opening Day.  All I remember was the noise as we started to move on Cal. We could barely hear Lisa Horn (coxswain) but we knew we were moving and by the time we hit the bridge we were ahead by a few seats. Once we crossed the finish line I could hardly hear OR see — everything was pounding, we were all gasping for air, but we’d won the Cal Dual for the first time.

Who influenced you as a rower or mentor when you were a student? 

I came to rowing as a sophomore after being on the track and field team my first year. So Laura Jackson and Katie Fox — who were just ahead of me — convinced me to shift. I also give a lot of credit to Ken Shannon (track coach) for making me a better athlete for success as a rower.

What has changed, and what has stayed the same, about Washington Rowing to you? 

I appreciate that the traditions have mostly stayed the same – whether it’s how we christen shells, or how teams work together – Washington Rowing is steeped in commitment to the team and to excellence. The other thing that remains constant is our course and our lake… when I see it I can remember a practice or a race. The Mountain (Rainier) is still there – kind of saying “think you’re so tough?”

What do you see as the role of the alumni in the success of Washington Rowing, and why?

The fact that the current rowers see the alums regularly – particularly women – at events is just a far-reaching influence. And that fact that names are attached to scholarships, to shells, to rooms… they see what it takes to keep UW rowing strong.

Why do you give to Washington Rowing?

I’ve given to the program pretty regularly since my graduation in ’82, but in the last few years I’ve been able to do more. I lost my sister Gail to pancreatic cancer five years ago. She was an athlete at Stanford in the pre-Title IX days. They swam and played ball and ran for the sheer love of it. She was my best cheerleader as I went through my career at UW. I honor Gail and her trail-blazing spirit as an athlete and leader every time I give to UW Rowing since I know she would do the same.