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Explore GSEE’s History

This story is part of a series celebrating the 50th anniversary of GSEE. Learn more.

Welcome to the start of the GSEE story! We are so proud of our history, our struggles, our achievements, and, especially, our alumni. 

As part of our 50th anniversary celebration, we produced a timeline that incorporates profiles of our alumni from the past five decades. We hope these profiles give you a sense of the evolution and impact of GSEE more than just the dates and facts would.

Our story officially begins in 1970, when the Office of the Recruitment for Minority Graduate and Professional Students was established. 

But of course, there was so much that led to that office. In 1968, the Black Student Union was created and immediately established itself as a student organization to be taken seriously, issuing a list of demands to President Odegaard, and then staging a sit-in to have those demands met. This prompted a cascade of changes at the University of Washington, including the formation of what is now known as the Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity (OMA&D).

Initially a part of the Office of Minority Affairs, the Office of the Recruitment for Minority Graduate and Professional Students’ main activities were recruitment, counseling and providing financial support to students of color. 

Later that year, President Charles E. Odegaard approved the joint administrative title of Assistant Dean of the Graduate School and Special Assistant to the Vice President for Minority Affairs, starting a formal relationship between the two units. 

Establishing this relationship meant that specific attention was now being given to the unique challenges and needs of graduate students of color. You’ll hear alumni’s experiences through the years, how their graduate education experience at UW was, and all the myriad ways that GSEE supported them, and where they are in life now.

This timeline is based on OMA&D’s 50th anniversary timeline. Special thanks to OMA&D and UWAA for their partnerships and support; Jessica Salvador, whose student paper on GSEE’s history was invaluable; Linda Dodson of UW Archives, and to all the alum who generously shared their stories.