Family ties: Nephew honors uncle through endowed chair

When Malcolm Goodfellow, ’87, decided to give back to the University of Washington, his thoughts naturally turned to honoring someone who has given so much to him: his uncle, Bob Richards, ’61, former chair of the UW ‘s Department of Economics Visiting Committee and an occasional instructor for the department.

“Bob and his wife, Marilyn, have been unbelievably generous and helpful to me,” says Goodfellow, who has degrees in architecture and building construction from the UW. When his parents, Marilou, ’55, and John “Jack” Goodfellow, ’51, died, his uncle and his aunt, also a 1961 UW graduate, welcomed Malcolm Goodfellow into their family. “I have used Bob as a sounding board for years, and his enthusiasm is just intoxicating. He’s always thinking about ways to help the community,” Goodfellow says.

Inspired by his uncle’s generosity, Goodfellow established the Robert R. Richards Endowed Chair in Economics, which will help recruit and retain distinguished economics faculty. He surprised his uncle with the news during a ski trip in Sun Valley, Idaho.

For the past two decades, Richards and a group of his friends, connected through business and the UW, have spent weekends skiing together and discussing business and community issues. Richards invited Goodfellow, who happened to be in Sun Valley during the annual event, to join them for dinner.

Just before dinner, Goodfellow, owner of the Watertown Hotel and University Inn in the University District, announced the gift in front of his uncle’s friends: Mike Garvey, ’61, ’64; Budd Gould, ’62; Don Nielsen, ’60; Lex Gamble, ’59; Jim Maclean, ’62; Neal Dempsey, ’64; Artie Buerk, ’58; Kirby Cramer, ’62; and John Hilton.

“The reaction was really something to behold,” Richards says. “Everyone was tearing up. We were all friends of Malcolm’s father, Jack. Everyone was overwhelmed by a member of the next generation stepping forward and making this extremely generous gift to the UW.”