Dr. Ana Mari Cauce was born on January 11, 1956 in Havana, Cuba. She is the daughter of Vicente Cauce, Minister of Education, under Fulgencio Batista. When she was three years old, her family fled the island and settled in Miami, Florida.
In 1977, Cauce earned a Bachelor of Arts summa cum laude in English from the University of Miami. In 1979, she earned a Master of Science in psychology and in 1982 a Master of Philosophy from Yale University. In 1984, she earned a PhD doctorate from Yale University in psychology, with a concentration in child clinical and community psychology.
Cauce began her teaching career as a lecturer at the University of Delaware. In 1986, she moved to Seattle to work as an associate professor at the University of Washington, where she gained tenure in 1990. In 1996 she was named chair of the American Ethnic Studies department and later became Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. In 2007, Cauce helped launch The Husky Promise, which provides full tuition to eligible Washington students who otherwise could not attend college. In 2012, she became Provost of the University of Washington. On October 13, 2015, Cauce was appointed president of the University of Washington by its Board of Regents after serving as interim president since March 2015. She is the first permanent woman president, and is also the first gay and first Hispanic selected as president.
She has received numerous awards, including the Dalmas Taylor Distinguished Contribution Award, the Luis Fernando Esteban Public Service Award, the James M. Jones Lifetime Achievement Award of the American Psychological Association, the Grace Hopper Exemplary Leadership Award and the Distinguished Contribution Award from the Society for Community Research and Action. In 1999 she was awarded the Distinguished Teaching Award, the highest honor the University of Washington gives to faculty members for their work with students in and outside the classroom.
Currently, Cauce is also a professor of Psychology and American Ethnic Studies, with secondary appointments in the Department of Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies and the College of Education. She maintains an active research program, focusing on adolescent development, with a special emphasis on at-risk youth. She is also a strong advocate for women and underrepresented minorities to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.