Destination: Seattle

Destination: Seattle

Hendley, Vicky

The 1998 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition lands in Seattle, Washington.

Once known as “Jet City,” Seattle changed its nickname to the environmentally-friendly “Emerald City” in the late 1980s. Some locals have refused to abandon the Boeing-inspired moniker, however, and there may be a few more “Jet City” advocates in town June 28-July 1 when ASEE conducts its annual conference and exposition at Seattle’s Washington State Convention and Trade Center.


“Engineering Education: Contributing to U.S. Competitiveness” is this year’s conference theme, and the main plenary speakers represent companies that exemplify U.S. competitiveness: Philip Condit, chairman and chief executive officer of The Boeing Company; and George Rathmann, chairman, CEO, and president of ICOS, a biotechnology company located in Bothell, Washington.

Additionally, Tom Angelo, a nationally recognized expert on assessment and coordinator of higher education programs at the University of Miami, will address a mini-plenary session on using the outcomes assessment process to satisfy requirements of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology’s Engineering Criteria: 2000. That session is sponsored by the Educational Research and Methods Division.

More speakers will be announced in future issues of ASEE PRISM and on the ASEE Annual Conference Web site at


The Washington State Convention and Trade Center stands in the heart of downtown Seattle and within walking distance of all conference hotels. Technical sessions, poster sessions, and most business meetings will take place in the center. Business meetings that include meals will be conducted at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel and Towers, adjacent to the convention center. The awards banquet will also be held at the Sheraton.


The convention center’s exhibit hall will house ASEE’s ever-popular exposition. Hundreds of publishers, equipment manufacturers, and educational organizations will be on hand to discuss cutting-edge products and services. For the fourth year in a row, the National Science Foundation Project Showcase, featuring displays of more than 20 NSF-sponsored projects, will be a prominent part of the exciting exposition. ASEE exposition hours will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, June 29 and Tuesday, June 30; and from 9 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, July 1.

Society-Wide Picnic

Conference attendees and their guests will take over the Pacific Science Center for the Society-Wide Picnic on Sunday, June 28, from 7 to 10 p.m. (The science center closes to the general public at 6 p.m.) Food and beverage stations will be set up inside and outside the science center’s five buildings, and conference attendees will be free to explore the center’s hands-on exhibits. These exhibits include Tech Zone, where visitors can play virtual basketball, hang glide in a virtual city, and create a cartoon; and Kids Works, where visitors can observe a colony of naked mole-rats, nature’s only cold-blooded mammals. Other exhibits include Dinosaurs, Body Works, Water Works, Science Playground, and Puget Sound Tide Pool.

The science center is located in Seattle Center, the 74-acre park built for the 1962 World’s Fair that is also home to Seattle’s famous Space Needle. Continuous shuttle service will be provided between the convention center and the science center.


The Sheraton Seattle Hotel and Towers, adjacent to the convention center, will be the conference headquarters hotel. Single room rates are $149; double rates are $174. The ASEE staff has also arranged room blocks at the Crowne Plaza, Hilton, Mayflower Park, Roosevelt, Westin, West Coast Vance, and Plaza Park Suites hotels, with rates ranging from $99 to $170. Rooms are also available at the Pacific Plaza for $82 per night.

All hotels are within walking distance of the convention center so there will be no shuttle service between these sites.

Getting There

Downtown Seattle is 15 miles from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. The ASEE staff has arranged for special fare discounts to the conference on United and Northwest Airlines, including an additional 10% overall discount on Northwest fares purchased 60 or more days before departure. Shuttle service is available from the airport to all downtown hotels.

Amtrak has extensive rail service to Seattle’s King Street Station, located just south of downtown in the International District.


Seattle is one of North America’s top vacation spots, and conference attendees should plan to take advantage of the area’s many attractions. From taste-testing the world’s best coffee in the morning to sampling the famous music scene after dark, Seattle has an activity to suit every interest and no shortage of things to do. Explore Pike Place Market, the oldest continually operating farmers market in the United States. Dine on fresh seafood or regional or international cuisine at dozens of waterfront restaurants. Sample local beer at microbreweries. Visit Pioneer Square for great shopping and a tour of Seattle’s Underground. Get a panoramic view from atop the Space Needle.

A family-friendly town, Seattle also offers attractions such as the Children’s Museum, the Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle Aquarium, and a carousel on the waterfront.

Outdoor enthusiasts can explore the area’s parks and gardens or rent a bike and tour what Bicycling magazine named the best city for riding.

Family Tours

Guided tours offer another way to explore the area, and the ASEE staff has arranged several. Daylong trips include a whalewatching cruise through the San Juan Islands; a bus and ferry trip to Widbey Island through the Cascade Mountains; and a jet catamaran cruise along the Pacific Northwest’s scenic coastline to explore Victoria, British Colombia. An optional overnight stay in Victoria is also available. Shorter jaunts include a “Sample Seattle” city tour, a winery tour, and a houseboat tour. There will also be a family tour of the Boeing plant in nearby Everett. The tour includes a bus ride through the largest building in the world-Boeing’s assembly facility.

Professional Tours

A more technical tour of Boeing’s facility in Renton is planned specifically for engineering educators, as are tours of the Fluke Corporation plant in Everett, and the University of Washington in Seattle.

More information on family and professional tours will be in the February issue of PRISM.

Post-Conference Cruise

ASEE has arranged for special rates on Holland America’s July 2-9 Alaskan cruise. The ship departs from Vancouver (transportation from Seattle is available for an additional fee) and makes stops in Juneau and Skagway on the way to Glacier Bay, where ancient glaciers still flow across mountains and crash from the cliffs into the sea. The ship then heads back down the coast, making a stop in Ketchikan before returning to Vancouver.

The per person cost for the seven-day cruise, including all meals and entertainment, runs from $1,352 for a standard inside room, to $2,285 for a deluxe outside room, plus port charges and taxes. The cost for a child (2-18 years old) traveling with two full-fare passengers is an additional $599; a third adult traveling with two full-fare passengers pays only $1,099.

For more information on ASEE’s Holland America cruise to Alaska, contact Lynne Treadway with Convention Cruises Northwest at (800) 275-9198.


ASEE will again offer online registration after March 1 via the ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition Web page at Conference and exposition information and registration materials will also be included in the Advanced Program, which will be mailed with the March issue of PRISM.

Copyright American Society for Engineering Education Jan 1998

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