On his impressive rise up the ranks of the U.S. Army, one passion never left retired four-star Gen. Peter Chiarelli: his care and concern for the welfare of the men and women who wear the uniform in service to their country. He was particularly concerned about those who return home with profound but invisible wounds of war.
This was true during his nearly 40-year military career—as he worked to change military culture to acknowledge the validity of these wounds—and it is true today in his “retirement.”
That passion for those suffering from traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress has led Chiarelli, ’80, to lead One Mind, a Seattle-based nonprofit dedicated to accelerating research and finding better diagnostics and treatments for those soldiers and civilians affected by brain illness and injury.
For his service to the country and his compassionate commitment to soldiers, the University of Washington presented Chiarelli with the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Veteran Award. Among his continuing commitments is an interest in strengthening the UW’s Army ROTC program and fostering the involvement of more veteran alumni.
The son of a meat cutter, Chiarelli, who grew up in Magnolia, did two combat command tours in Iraq. For the first year, he commanded the 1st Cavalry Division in Baghdad, and for the second, he was the commander in charge of day-to-day operations in Iraq. That’s when his education from the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy & Governance really kicked in. “The Evans School taught me to be a critical thinker in overseeing the provision of basic services,” says Chiarelli, who has a Master of Public Administration from the UW. Chiarelli, who also served as Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army for four years, is the highest-ranking alumnus Army officer to have served in Iraq in the UW’s history.