Growing up in Tacoma, Cohen remembers looking forward to Husky picture day every year. This year's picture day will take place on August 13.

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Growing up in Tacoma during the Husky football heyday of the 1970s and ’80s, I remember circling the date of the annual Husky football picture day on my calendar and looking forward to it for weeks. The chance to meet some of my favorite Huskies created special memories that will never leave me. I vividly recall interacting with stars like Paul Skansi, Anthony Allen, Jimmy Rodgers and coach Don James and marveling at how approachable and personable they were underneath helmets and pads. I felt a special connection with them later in the year when I watched them compete in Husky Stadium.

Now that I’ve been given the opportunity of a lifetime to lead the UW athletic department, I am thrilled that the event lives on and offers Dawg fans the same opportunities I cherished so deeply.

This year, picture day will take place in conjunction with the team’s fall camp practice on Aug. 13. For those of you unfamiliar with the event, picture day offers a chance to view a Huskies practice and then take the field to pose for a picture with your favorite players and coaches. Following the renovation of Husky Stadium, our facilities and events team has worked to revive the day and I am so glad we have found a way to keep this important tradition alive.

Coach Chris Petersen and his team love getting the chance to interact with other Huskies, and our hope is to continue to offer opportunities to give fans access to teams, coaches and facilities, like “Dawgs Under the Stars,” “Raise the Woof,” picture day and an annual open practice for season-ticket holders.

Monday marks the launch of our football marketing campaign “Let Purple Reign Again.” The concept goes beyond a catchy tagline and is particularly meaningful to me, as I grew up in an era when Purple truly did reign throughout the city, the region and the nation. UW fans have been incredibly loyal throughout the decades. As we enter this season, which marks the 25th anniversary of our most accomplished team, all Husky fans feel a deep desire to see Purple reign in a big way, and I believe our program has great things in store. Winning is important, but equally important is building a program that we can all take pride in, and a big part of that means community involvement.

True Purple Reign means achievements on the field, but it also means success in the classroom and in the community. It means working our hardest to become the “best versions of ourselves,” as Petersen says. Our goals for this athletic department are bigger than simply creating winning teams – we want to do it in a way that we can all be proud of, and that leaves a profoundly positive impact on the Seattle community.

I truly hope you will consider attending Husky Football picture day this year, and taking the chance to get to know some of our remarkable players and coaches who are working so hard to represent our community the right way.

A lot has changed since I first began attending picture day, but I still circle the date on my calendar, and I hope you will join me. Together, we can “Let Purple Reign Again.”

Jennifer Cohen, who was named athletic director at the University of Washington in late May, has been an administrator with the UW athletic department for 15 years. Want to be a reader contributor to The Seattle Times’ Take 2 blog? E-mail your original, previously unpublished work or proposal to Assistant Sports Editor Ed Guzman at or Not all submissions can be published. Opinions expressed are those of authors, and The Times reserves the right to edit and publish any submissions online and/or in print.