Tuesday, May 22, 2018

“Teaching at the University of Washington is the best job in the world,” said retiring professor Gunnar Almgren yesterday at his send-off party in a sun-filled Suzzallo Library reception room lined with stained-glass windows and Pacific Northwest murals. With dozens of family, friends, colleagues, students and supporters in attendance, Gunnar reflected on what an honor it has been to teach, in particular, first-generation college students, recalling how his father was given the opportunity for a university education and career that lifted up his children's prospects.

In a surprise announcement, Dean Uehara revealed a new student award named in his honor, the Gunnar R. Almgren Prize in Poverty and Health Policy Award. The award will be given to an outstanding graduate-student paper on a topic dear to Gunnar's personal and professional passion: the right to compassionate and quality health care regardless of income. Jennie Romich, in her role as director of the West Coast Poverty Center, will manage the student prize, which will be awarded for the first time during the 2018-19 academic year. 

Dean Eddie called Gunnar's most recent book, Health Care as a Right of Citizenship, a gift to health policy and the nation—as Almgren’s teaching, guidance and friendship have been a gift to all of us. 

Watch the video of Gunnar's professional and personal journey prepared by School of Social Work friends and colleagues Brooks Callison, J'May Rivara and Taryn Lindhorst, with the help of Gunnar's family.