Last September we highlighted momentum and raised the question of the direction the accompanying change would take. After an unprecedented sweep of the NCAA Championships by the women and the men winning the Ten Eyck trophy at the IRA Championships, it’s clear the program is in a very good place.
A word about the Board of Rowing Stewards. Generous in every sense of the word, these men and women quietly go about their business and in so doing, allow the coaches to remain focused on developing their student-athletes. We are grateful to our Board Members (see page 11) and encourage you to recognize their service when the opportunity presents itself.
To you, the Stewards of this program, please know your support was simply exceptional this past year. A few particular metrics stand out. Alumni participation in the Annual Fund was up 33% over 2015-16. Overall participation was up almost 25% and most importantly, you blew right by our goal of $250,000, contributing $324,000 for the fiscal year. Additionally we had a new women’s endowment established and fully funded. This is championship-level stuff and one of the reasons both the men’s and women’s teams will be sending crews to the Head of the Charles this fall.
As Stewards, you are likely aware of the costs associated with running a Division I program. Even if Yaz and Michael were to choose mediocrity over excellence, costs would continue to escalate. Consider scholarships, which are directly tied to tuition. In 2003, the State of Washington covered two thirds of the University’s budget with tuition covering one third. By 2017, those numbers have flipped with tuition covering two thirds of the budget and the State covering the other third. Accordingly resident tuition has increased from $4,600 in 2003 to $10,750 in 2017.
Looking forward, we have a choice. We can fund the team at a competitive level, comfortable in the knowledge we will go head to head with the top programs, or alternatively we can resolve to continue to fund the team at the championship level established last year, confident we will consistently compete for the national title. The difference between these two choices is defined by the Annual Fund.
With the start of school comes the opportunity for the class of 2021 to begin to write their history and the class of 2018 to leave their legacy. Rowing for the University of Washington comes with inherent expectations. The program’s success in 2017 has emboldened us to elevate those expectations. Please join us in supporting these student-athletes in their quest for the sublime.
Jane Powers and Trevor Vernon
Washington Rowing Board of Stewards