Quiet philanthropists honored with UW’s Gates Volunteer Service Award

Dan Baty’s business success has relied on his talent for anticipating trends and meeting the resulting needs. From services for America’s aging population, to the need for affordable health care in parts of Asia and Africa, to Washingtonians’ thirst for wine produced in our home state, Baty saw opportunities and responded—and his business investments thrived along with the people and sectors he served. Today, Columbia Pacific Management, which Baty co-founded in 1989, is a leader in health care, and the Baty family’s Precept Wine is one of the Northwest’s largest private wine companies.

Running a business well also requires building a strong culture and a solid team. “I’m a huge delegator,” Baty once said. “I give people responsibility and expect them to fulfill.” But as a self-described “walk-around-the-office guy,” he also knew his companies inside and out.

It’s no surprise that these qualities characterize the volunteerism and philanthropy of both Dan, ’65, and Pam, ’69, Baty at the University of Washington. The Batys have helped identify the University’s upcoming needs and made wise investments to help meet them. They’ve supported strong teams. And they’ve stayed involved behind the scenes, offering advice, creating connections and fostering collaboration.

Since 1977, the Batys have given generously to their alma mater, powering revolutionary change in health care at UW Medicine, helping create a top-tier teaching and learning environment at the UW Foster School of Business, and ensuring an unparalleled experience for Husky student-athletes and fans. They’ve given the gift of their time as well, always striving to set up the UW—and those it serves—for success.

For their lifetime of philanthropic giving, volunteerism and impact, the University of Washington Foundation is honoring Dan and Pam Baty with the 2023 Gates Volunteer Service Award. The award is given annually to those who shape the University’s trajectory with their philanthropy and service, and who encourage others to do the same.

Pam Baty was born and raised in Seattle. Dan grew up in Tacoma and from a young age wanted to go into business. (Fittingly, he and Costco co-founder Jeff Brotman, ’64, ’67, met as boys on a Tacoma playground and remained lifelong friends.)

After Dan graduated from the UW and went on to Harvard Law School, a Husky fraternity brother of Dan’s connected him with Pam, then a UW student. The friend thought they’d be a good match, and he was right.

Once Dan finished his law degree, he and Pam married and moved to Tacoma, where Pam used her UW degree in education to teach first grade at Lowell Elementary. Dan, who’d studied accounting at the UW, worked in the tax department at Price Waterhouse. Soon he struck out on his own as an entrepreneur, and Pam stepped back from teaching and devoted more of her time to raising their sons—Stan, ’94, and Brandon, ’97, who followed their parents’ example and became generous UW philanthropists themselves.

Pam also began giving her time and support to childhood education, a cause that remains important to her. She was an early supporter and volunteer educator at the Eugene P. Tone School in Tacoma, the first publicly funded school in the U.S. for children experiencing homelessness. She and Dan are longtime champions of the arts, especially the Pacific Northwest Ballet.

Eventually the family moved north to Seattle, continuing to contribute to and guide many local organizations—including the UW, where their smart investments helped meet upcoming needs.

It goes beyond any specific school or people—it’s the importance of the University to the community.”

Dan Baty, ’65

Take the renovation of Husky Stadium a decade ago: In addition to providing generous financial backing and encouraging others to get involved, the Baty family helped UW leadership navigate the project’s complexities. “Dan was a driving force behind the strategic plans,” former UW Athletic Director Jen Cohen recalls. “His guidance over the years that the project was developed, designed and executed was a key part of its success.” The Batys’ advice helped UW Athletics ensure the financial stability of all Husky sports programs. Adds Cohen, “I consider myself so fortunate to have had their support and counsel.”

The Batys also left their mark at the Foster School of Business making instrumental gifts toward the construction of PACCAR Hall and Founders Hall, and participating in the fundraising campaigns for both buildings. Dan, recognized with the Foster School’s 2014 Distinguished Leadership Award, gave the keynote speech at the school’s 2019 graduation ceremony.

Not only does Dan embody how a Foster School education pre-pares one for the business world; he also lives his dedication to supporting the school, having hired many Foster graduates throughout his career and encouraged many employees to continue their education through Foster’s executive programs.

The Batys’ generosity has had a significant impact at UW Medicine—from helping attract and retain distinguished doctors through endowed chairs to establishing institutes that cultivate collaboration and innovation among UW and community experts.

In 2017, thanks to the visionary leadership of Dan and Pam Baty and Jeff and Susan Brotman, the Brotman Baty Institute for Precision Medicine (BBI) was launched. Since then, BBI scientists have made significant discoveries in precision medicine to treat cancer and many other diseases. The BBI laid the groundwork for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic; its work to monitor the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases allowed for quick public-health interventions.

The Batys paved the way for the 2019 founding of the UW Medicine Diabetes Institute, which has already advanced treatment and dramatically increased the number of patients served. Pam, whose sister has Type 1 diabetes, has spent several years on the UW Medicine Diabetes Committee. UW Medicine Professor Irl Hirsch, chair of diabetes treatment and teaching, wrote about Pam, “Because of her vision, we have built one of the best research, clinical and teaching programs in the country.”

Over nearly five decades, Pam and Dan Baty have led by example at the UW, anticipating opportunities and helping position strong teams to make the most difference. They have preferred to stay out of the spotlight, letting the University’s work speak for itself. And it speaks loudly.

“Our family is a large contributor to different schools at the University because of the large contribution the University makes to the community,” Dan has said. “It goes beyond any specific school or people—it’s the importance of the University to the community.”