Visiting Committee Summer Social 2021 Gathering

Submitted by Michael G. Bettis on

The Department’s Visiting Committee held their Summer Social event on September 15th at the Lake Union floating home of Jeff and Perri Roe.  This is an annual event to recognize the VC for the work and support the group does throughout the year for the department.  The Roes hosted the event in 2019 as well, but due to inclement weather, the venue had to be moved to another location.  Jeff and Perri were keen to have another opportunity to host the event at their home, and thankfully this time the weather cooperated.  Our members were able to enjoy a lovely evening with each other’s company and take in the views of passing boats along the water.  Fahad Khalil, former Chair of the department, spoke about the impact the fundraising by the VC this year made on the department’s activities during an otherwise difficult year.  Fahad also acknowledged the wonderful generosity of John Stephanus, Olga Yang, and Bill Severson in co-sponsoring a matching program that increased the total contributions and helped achieve our overall goal for the year.  Melissa Knox and Dennis O’Dea also provided an update on the undergraduate program activities.                   

During the evening, we recognized Christina Tapia with the Kathy Gehrt Memorial Volunteer Service award, which recognizes the efforts of a volunteer who has made a significant long-term impact on the department.  Established in 2014, the Kathy Gehrt Memorial Economics Volunteer Service Award was named for and awarded posthumously to Kathy Gehrt (BA ’75, MA ’77), who exemplified these characteristics and many more.  Christina is certainly very deserving of this recognition having been a key member of the department’s outreach efforts for many years, highlighted by her leadership as chair of the visiting committee from 2015-2020.  Christina is an alumna several times over, having received her BA with honors, MA, and PhD from UW Economics.  She joined the VC in 2011 and was appointed to the Executive Committee soon after. Christina is also a Visiting Lecturer in our department, teaching Econ 408: Economic Analysis of the Law, and Econ 423:  Topics in Financial Economics.  She has been a long time mentor for the department’s Mentorship Program and also founded the department’s Women in Economics group in 2014. 

Christina was unable to attend the Summer Social this year.  However a group of members the night before surprised Christina during a faux Executive Committee zoom call, and gave her the award along with a perfectly timed flower delivery.  Tom Olson, who was the award recipient in 2019, shared some words from Christina to the group attending the summer social:  “I cannot adequately express the surprise and gratitude that I felt after learning that I am this year’s recipient of the Kathy Gehrt Memorial Economics Volunteer Service Award. I have always admired Kathy Gehrt and the VC members who have received this award in the past. I am truly humbled now to be part of this distinguished group.”   

As the sun set, the group retired from the roof top area and continued conversations downstairs over coffee and dessert.  It was a wonderful gathering of friends of the department after a lengthy time apart.