Transforming our communities

Lyle Quasim '70


Lyle Quasim ’70

Community Leader and Public Service Administrator
Tacoma, Washington

The University of Puget Sound is a diverse, dynamic, changing community. I was here in 1966, and the national scene—war, rights for women and people of color, issues around poverty—was clearly in the forefront. I watched the university make adjustments to embrace and understand those issues. It was a moment in time that made me much less cynical about life, and America, and my place in America.

I realized that place and environment have a key role in education. For me, I needed a small liberal arts college with engaged faculty who gave me the personal attention I needed to be successful.

People come from all over the world to the University of Puget Sound, and people leave the University of Puget Sound to go all over the world. After I graduated, I had a lot of opportunities; a lot of doors opened for me. But through all those experience I never left Puget Sound. I had other academic affiliations, but UPS always remained number one in my heart. And here I am after 45 years, still engaged with the university, still in many ways a student. Issues related to social justice and leadership have kept me tethered to Puget Sound. It’s been a connection for me. 

As alumni, the university has allowed us to impact it, and the university has impacted us. University of Puget Sound is a place to be engaged. It is not a walled-off ivory tower; it enhances the entire community.

More About Lyle

  • Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
  • Home now: Puyallup, Washington
  • Major: Sociology
  • President of Bates Technical College
  • Previously head of Washington Department of Social and Health Services
  • Volunteer co-chair of Tacoma’s Black Collective for more than 30 years
  • Member of Puget Sound board of trustees
  • Served as an Air Force medic in Vietnam

Photo by Scott Areman