Message from the Dean: Honoring Veterans and Service

By Mario L. Barnes, Toni Rembe Dean and professor of law

UW Law is proud to honor all those who have served in the armed services this — and every — Veterans Day. Join me in expressing gratitude for the many contributions of veterans, especially the students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends who are part of our community.

As you probably saw in UW President Ana Mari Cauce's letter earlier this week, UW is hosting a number of events leading up to the annual Veterans Day Ceremony on Monday, Nov. 11, and I encourage you to consider joining the celebrations.

This year, we are particularly proud that the Hon. Ronald E. Cox, a UW Law alumnus, will be recognized with the university's Distinguished Alumni Veteran Award. A graduate of West Point who earned three Bronze stars during his service in the U.S. Army in Vietnam, he enrolled at the UW School of Law in search of a way to help resolve conflicts without violence.

He went on to practice law as a litigator with the Seattle law firm Preston, Gates and Ellis, becoming the firm's first African-American partner before being appointed to the bench. He served on the Washington State Court of Appeals for 23 years. Throughout his service both in the Army and the justice system, Judge Cox has continually embodied the UW's mission of impact for the public good.

For me, this long weekend is a special time of reflection. Like Judge Cox, military service was an influential chapter of my career. The desire to serve and to be connected to a cause bigger than myself did not end when I retired from the U.S. Navy. Today, I find myself asking how I may continue to channel the energy I once gave to the military in ways that benefit the public good.

This passion for service continues to drive my work every day, as I know it does for many others. It is the same service-mindedness that drives UW Law to invest in community engagements that affect the lives of others in profoundly important ways.

Military service should be honored, and our veterans should receive our utmost respect and gratitude. The dedication they demonstrate to our county is the same dedication that inspires us all to serve our community.

During the long weekend, I hope you will honor those special veterans in your life and let their service inspire you to ask yourself, "How can I offer my best talents and take action in service to our community and country?"