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Spring 2020 UW Germanics Newsletter

Message from the Chair, Sabine Wilke:

We are living in unprecedented times due to the global pandemic. As of the last week of Winter Quarter the university has been conducting most of its business remotely. That meant that students and instructors have been staying at home (wherever that may be) and learning German and discussing German literature and culture via Zoom. I wish to send out my sincere thanks to all instructors and students who have embraced this new normal with creativity and patience!

Since we won’t be able to celebrate our graduates and honor our award-winners in a “live” ceremony this year, we are accompanying our “virtual” convocation of the class of 2020 which took place on June 10, from 3:30 – 4:30 pm, with this special issue of our newsletter devoted to showcasing student projects. A recording of this ceremony can be accessed through a link from our home page if you had to miss it or want to watch it again. We are graduating six majors and six minors this year as well as three MA students.

We asked our students to reflect on what it means to live in times of crisis. You will be reading a broad range of responses that students have shared with us in reaction to this difficult moment in history. We asked: "What makes you get up in the morning? How can we support and inspire each other? How can we embrace chaos without falling apart?". Find out how our students responded.

Our graduation speaker is Cydly Langer Smith. Cydly is a Germanics alum from 1986. She is now the vice chairwoman of Kitsap Bank, a family business and the largest woman-owned bank in the state! We thought that by asking her to address this year’s class she could send a message of hope to our graduates drawing on her own experience and the role that German has played in her life. She sent us a pre-recorded message that was played at the virtual ceremony and will be available in the recorded session.

We also honored two Phi Beta Kappa initiates, our new student ambassador, an honors project, the winner of this year’s Manfred Bansleben Prize in Excellent of Graduate Teaching, the winner of the College’s Antoinette Wills Award, and the old and the new Hanauer Fellows. As you can see we have excellent students that excel at all levels of German language, literature, and culture and it is always a great honor and pleasure to mentor such fantastic students!

Thank you for letting us be part of your life and stay in touch.

Support Us

A particularly heartfelt thank you goes out to our donors and supporters of the Friends of Germanics general fund during these difficult times! We are humbled by your loyalty and cannot thank you enough for your generous gifts that support faculty and students, enable departmental activities, and make events and initiatives possible that otherwise would not happen. With this newsletter, we hope to show that we are a great unit that is worthy of your support. Many thanks and stay safe and healthy!

Sabine Wilke
Chair, Germanics

For more information about how you can support us, please contact the department

Our newsletter would not be complete without your contributions. Let us know how you are coping with this difficult moment in history. What makes you get up in the morning? How can we support and inspire each other? How can we embrace chaos without falling apart? You can submit your responses to the newsletter editor, Misha Neininger at

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