On Friday, August 8, 2014, in recognition of the many contributions made by Dawn Lucien over the past 60 years, UW Tacoma celebrated “the hardest working woman in Tacoma” by dedicating a plaque to the highly regarded civic leader and by renaming the Tacoma Room overlooking the Thea Foss Waterway in her honor. Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland was also on hand to proclaim the day “Dawn Lucien Day.”
A true icon of the city of Tacoma, Lucien’s myriad efforts for the arts, education and government have shaped the City of Destiny time and again. Her numerous achievements have helped build Cheney Stadium, save downtown Tacoma’s theaters and the Murray Morgan Bridge. Perhaps most significantly, she played a substantial role in the founding of UW Tacoma.
Lucien has been a civic leader since she became one of two women elected to the Tacoma Board of Freeholders in 1956. In the 1960s, she was appointed to the Tacoma City Council, before becoming a congressional nominee in ‘62. That nomination would prove to be just the beginning of Lucien’s experience in the world of politics.
While serving as the Director of the Allied Arts of Tacoma, Lucien was chosen by then-Vice President Hubert Humphrey to represent the United States in Geneva at the 1967 United Nations Economic and Social Council. A year later, Lucien took a leadership position with the “Citizens for Humphrey” committee, which sought out business leaders in an effort to raise funds for Humphrey’s presidential campaign.
When Humphrey’s bid for the White House ultimately fell short, Lucien split her duties between leadership roles at the local and the national levels. In the ‘70s and ‘80s, Lucien worked with the precursor to the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts in Tacoma, while also serving as an aide to U.S. Representative Norm Dicks until 1989.
Lucien also served as President of the South Puget Sound Higher Education Council – a group that was formed in 1985 with the express purpose of bringing a public university to the South Sound. That effort would pay off in 1990, when the council’s work led to the creation of UW Tacoma.
Never one to rest on her laurels, Lucien remains on the UW Tacoma Advisory Board to this day. She also serves on the Center for Urban Waters Advisory Board, the Mayor’s Task Force on Education, the City Club of Tacoma Program Committee and the World Affairs Council.
An anecdote about Lucien serves to underscore her knowledge of and commitment to the community. When nationally-recognized artist Dawoud Bey was creating his series of portraits of Tacomans, as part of his Strangers/Community project, he found it difficult to pair her with a fellow Tacoman she didn’t know — which was the whole point of the portraits. The portrait series hangs in UW Tacoma’s Snoqualmie Library Powerhouse Reading Room.
Lucien has been a passionate advocate for UW Tacoma long before its inception. We are proud to recognize her many contributions to the university and the city of Tacoma, ensuring she will continue to be recognized for generations to come.
Read more about the Dawn Lucien event in the Tacoma News Tribune.
John Burkhardt, Media Relations, firstname.lastname@example.org, 253-692-4536