Simpsons honored for five decades of service to UW

When Hunter and Dottie Simpson joined some 300 of the University’s most generous supporters for the Inaugural Recognition Gala at the Suzzallo Library September 13, they expected an elegant dinner in a breath-taking locale. They got what they came for, plus a very special surprise when the University of Washington honored this couple for their five decades of devotion to the institution.

Hunter and Dottie’s three children, Brooks, Anne, and Chris, were on hand when Regent Daniel J. Evans presented the Simpsons with the first Gates Volunteer Service Award. Named in recognition of the inspiring leadership and philanthropic legacy of the William Gates family, the award will be presented annually to the volunteer whose involvement has most advanced the UW and heightened public awareness of the University’s achievements.

Hunter and Dottie have long been tireless volunteers and generous contributors to a wide array of UW programs. Recipient of the 1993 UW Recognition Award, Hunter (’49) is a former University Regent (’87-’93) and a founding member of the Washington Research Foundation, a technology transfer organization for technologies developed at the UW and other state research institutions. He served as a founding director of the UW Foundation (’90-’92), and as president of the UW Alumni Association (‘80-’81) and has made significant volunteer contributions to the School of Medicine and Intercollegiate Athletics, among other areas. He and Dottie (MBA, ’82) also have been active participants in the University’s fundraising efforts, taking leadership roles in the Campaign for Washington and encouraging countless gifts to the University.

Dottie has enhanced the UW through her service to the School of Drama Visiting Committee and the Tyee Board. Her commitment to higher education has had a national impact. In 1999, she was named Duke University’s Distinguished Alumna in recognition of her contributions as a trustee of that institution, where she earned her undergraduate degree. She also has been instrumental in guiding the growth of the local and national chapters of the Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Foundation, a women’s organization that raises money for graduate fellowships in the sciences, medicine, and engineering.

The breadth and extent of Hunter and Dottie’s loyalty to the University is most worthy of recognition, says Foundation Chair and family friend William Gates.

“There is a persistence about Hunter and Dottie’s devotion to this University,” he says, “which makes it extraordinary.”