University of Washington is a public research university in Seattle, Washington, United States. Founded in 1861, UW is one of the oldest universities on the West Coast and has one of the best medical schools in the world. UW has been labele done of the 'Public Ivies,' a publicly funded university considered as providing a quality of education comparable to those of the Ivy League. The university has three campuses: the largest in the University District, Seattle and two others in Tacoma and Bothell. Its operating expenses and research budget for fiscal year 2012 totaled more than US 7. 2 billion. The UW occupies over 500 buildings, with over 20 million gross square footage of space, including the latest University of Washington Plaza consisting of the 325 ft UW Tower and conference center. Washington is an elected member of the Association of American Universities, and its research budget is among the highest in the United States. In athletics,the university competes in the NCAA Division I Pacific-12 Conference .