Alumni Summa Laude Dignati

Since its inception in 1938, more than 60 alumni who personify the University's tradition of excellence have received this prestigious honor. The list includes Nobel Prize winners, internationally-recognized scientists, artists, business leaders, educators and many other important figures.

  1. Art Levinson, 1972 - A rare combination of dedicated laboratory experience and business leadership launched Art Levinson, '72, into the upper echelons of the biotechnology industry. Beginning as a research scientist at Genentech in 1980, Levinson was named CEO of the company, a forerunner in recombinant DNA, in 1995. Much of his professional research has focused on genes and proteins essential in creating cancer-fighting drugs. A successful transition from the lab coat to the suit coat made Levinson one of Baron's "World's Most Respected CEOs" in 2006. In 2008, the American Academy of Sciences elected him a Fellow. He is currently the CEO of Calico, a startup addressing aging, and the chairman of Apple, Inc.
  2. William H. Gates, Sr., 1949, 1950 Juris Doctor - As a successful lawyer, author and widely renowned philanthropist, Bill Gates Sr. has been committed to public service for more than six decades. Having worked on the boards of countless organizations--including three terms as a member of the University of Washington Board of Regents--his leadership and commitment to social justice, economics and global health are highly regarded by the community, the region and the world.
    Currently, he is an honorary co-chair for the World Justice Project and a co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
  3. Steven M. Holl, 1971 Architecture - One of America's most celebrated architects, Steven Holl has made a career out of upending expectations and breaking rules. His notable works include the Linked Hybrid mixed-use complex in Beijing, the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki, and the Chapel of St. Ignatius in Seattle, and he has projects under construction on three continents. Holl continues to win prestigious competitions, and in December, 2011, the American Institute of Architects awarded him is highest honor, the 2012 AIA Gold Medal.
  4. Jane Lubchenco, 1971 Zoology - Attention to detail and willingness to tackle the big questions, leavened with what her former adviser and UW Professor Emeritus of Zoology Robert Paine calls "a lot of charisma," have vaulted Lubchenco to the top of her profession as a marine ecologist. These qualities have made her an effective advocate for greater scientific engagement with policymakers and the general public, and led President Barack Obama to nominate her to be the first female administrator (and ninth overall) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), where she has served since March 2009.
  5. Bruce Nordstrom, 1955 Economics - Bruce Nordstrom's contributions to the retail world have transcended the business realm and have contributed richly to American culture. The "Nordstrom Way" has become a blueprint for service in both the private and public sectors. Locally, Bruce Nordstrom has been a committed citizen, volunteering on local boards such as Children's Hospital and Seattle Goodwill Industries and receiving an award for excellence in public service from YWCA in 2004.
  6. Wayne Quinton, 1959 Mechanical Engineering - For his prolific, groundbreaking work as an instrument designer for the UW's medical school, and for his singular role in marrying the fields of engineering and medicine, Wayne Quinton is a transformative figure. His perseverance helped propel Quinton from small-town Rigby, Idaho, to big-time Boeing, where he landed one week after the attack on Pearl Harbor to work on the B-29 bomber. At the UW medical school, he not only designed a laundry list of life-saving medical devices, but became the first practitioner of an entirely new field: bioengineering.
  7. Beverly Cleary, 1939 Library & Information Sciences - Beloved children's book author Beverly Cleary is known for her phenomenal memory, her flawless eye for detail and ear for dialogue, her exquisite timing and her economical prose. Each of her 30-plus children’s books is a master class in effective storytelling. But the quality that perhaps most distinguishes her is a willingness to let children be who they are.
  8. Daniel J. Evans, 1948, 1949 Civil Engineering - Aside from serving three successful terms as governor of Washington, Dan Evans has given the state five years of able representation in the U.S. Senate, eight years in the state House of Representatives, six years as president of the Evergreen State College, twelve years on the UW Board of Regents, and a lifetime of loyalty.
  9. Linda Buck, 1975 Microbiology and Psychology - A tenacious and resourceful scientist, Linda Buck was honored with the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for her groundbreaking investigations into the human sense of smell. While a postdoctoral student at Columbia University, Buck and her advisor Richard Axel broke the field of olfaction wide open by identifying the "odorant receptors" that allow people to detect and distinguish smells. Later, as a professor at Harvard, Buck made significant further discoveries about the way odors are processed by the nose and brain. She is currently a member in the division of basic sciences at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and an affiliate professor of physiology and biophysics at the UW. She is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences.
  10. Jack Lenor Larsen, 1949 General Studies, Historical and Contemporary Textiles - Mr. Larsen, internationally known textile designer, author, and collector, has been a major influence in environmental design throughout his long and successful career. Known as an innovator in fabric design, he has won many awards and is one of only two design houses ever to be honored with an exhibition at the Palais du Louvre. More than a weaver, Mr. Larsen is a scholar, world traveler, and one of the world's foremost authorities on traditional and contemporary crafts.
  11. Bonnie J. Dunbar, 1971, 1975 Ceramic Engineering - Ms. Dunbar is currently a deputy director in the Biological Sciences and Applications Division of NASA's Space and Life Sciences Directorate where she spends much of her time on biotechnology research for the space station and future space exploration. She is one of the most experienced female astronauts in history, having spent 50 days in space and covering 20 million miles in five space shuttle flights. Ms. Dunbar is active in education outreach focusing on the promotion of science education to underrepresented populations.
  12. William Bolcom, 1958 Music - Mr. Bolcom is a distinguished composer and pianist, renowned both nationally and internationally. Among his many honors and awards, Mr. Bolcom received the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 1988 for 12 New Etudes for Piano. He has recorded over 40 albums and his works are now performed throughout the world, and by world-class orchestras, opera houses, chamber musicians and soloists. His own compositions have been recorded by many illustrious artists, and first-rate orchestras.
  13. Donald Baker, 1960 Electrical Engineering - Mr. Baker transformed the vision and mission of the University of Washington by taking academic research into the field of medical imaging and commercializing it to the great benefit of people throughout the world. With his work that made ultrasound imaging feasible, Mr. Baker became an entrepreneur who led bioengineering to the forefront of the healthcare industry, which resulted in saving numerous lives by enabling diagnosis and significantly improving the accuracy of diagnosis of disease and conditions.
  14. Joseph Sutter, 1943 Aeronautical Engineering - Often referred to as the "father of the 747", Mr. Sutter has been the pillar of the aerospace engineering community for many years. He has had a lifetime of accomplishments and contributions to the advancement of commercial jet transport aviation. He served as a Boeing executive and retired as executive vice president in 1986. He now serves as a consultant to Boeing Commercial Airplane Group. Recipient of the U.S. Medal of Technology, he also served on the presidential committee that investigated the Challenger explosion.
  15. Rita Colwell, 1961 Ph.D., Marine Biology - Dr. Colwell was the first woman to become the Director of the National Science Foundation. She is one of the world's leading researchers into the epidemiology of cholera; she is renowned for her work in environmental control of epidemic diseases. She held high-level positions at Canada's National Research Council and Georgetown University before becoming President of the University of Maryland's Biotechnology Institute. She has also served as the president of the American Society of Microbiology and as the Chair for the Board of Governors of the American Academy of Microbiology.
  16. James R. Ellis, 1948 Juris Doctor - Ellis has devoted his life to improving the quality of the Pacific Northwest. He became known as "the man who cleaned up Lake Washington." He was an energetic chair of Forward Thrust, which secured authorization of the Kingdome, many parks and a county-wide public transit system. He is respected nationally as an exceptionally capable and creative municipal bond lawyer. Ellis served as a chairman of the Section of Urban, State and Local Govern-Government Law of the American Bar Association. He served as a UW Regent for 12 years.
  17. Shirley Mahaley Malcom, 1967 Zoology - Dr. Malcom was one of the first, if not the first, African American to earn a bachelor's degree in Zoology from the University of Washington. She is the Head of the Directorate for Education and Human Resources Programs of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AASS). She has made significant contributions to diversifying the technological workforce and supporting stronger technical education for all students. In the U.S. today, Dr. Malcom is the most effective and knowledgeable expert on issues concerning access and opportunities in science and engineering for ethnic minorities.
  18. Chuck Close, 1962 Art - In an original working method based on gridded photographs, Close created oversized portraits of family and friends that quickly made him one of the best-known figures in contemporary American art. His works are shown all over the world in many major museums and private collections. At the height of his career, he was stricken by a spinal blood clot that left him partially paralyzed. Nevertheless, he found ways to continue painting the large portraits that have become his life's work. The paintings he has done while disabled are the most vibrant and compelling of his distinguished career.
  19. Martin Rodbell, 1954 Medicine - Explored fundamental questions about how cells receive, interpret and act upon information. He conceived the idea of signal transduction and then discovered that a cellular molecule named GTP is crucial to the process described by that concept. His work has greatly enhanced our understanding of the process of life and promise to advance the treatment of disease as well. For his work, he was a recipient of the 1994 Nobel Prize in medicine.
  20. (None awarded) - Special presentation to Dr. William P. Gerberding on his retirement as UW President.
  21. Dr. William H. Foege, 1961 M.D. - Worked with the Center for Disease Control to eradicate smallpox worldwide. During his tenure at the CDC, he helped to identify the causes of toxic shock syndrome and Reye's Syndrome in children. Former executive director of the Carter Center of Emory University through 1993. Nominated by President Bill Clinton in 1994 to be executive director of UNICEF.
  22. Dale Chihuly, 1965 Art - Influential and creative artist and teacher in the medium of studio glass. Founder of the Pilchuck School in 1971. Works included in the collections of the Corning Museum of Glass (NY), The Metropolitan Museum of Art (NY), The Museum of Contemporary Crafts for the American Crafts Council (NY), the Seattle Art Museum, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
  23. Thomas S. Foley, 1951 History, 1957 Juris Doctor - Politician, served the State of Washington in Congress from 1964-1994, chair of the House Democratic Caucus from 1976-1980, House Majority Whip from 1981-1986, House Majority Leader from 1987-1989, and Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1989-1994.
  24. Virginia Beatrice Smith, 1944 General Studies, 1946 Juris Doctor, 1950 Master's, Labor Economics - Educator, former assistant vice president at the University of California, Berkeley, and former associate director of the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.
  25. George Nakashima, 1929 Architecture - World-renowned furniture designer and woodworker who, among other honors, was commissioned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City to produce a room for its Japanese Wing.
  26. George Kozmetsky, 1939 Business Administration - Business leader, educator, co-founder of Teledyne, first dean of the Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Texas-Austin, executive associate for economic affairs for the University of Texas system, director of the IC2 Institute, and professor in the UT Health Sciences Department of Medicine.
  27. John E. Corbally, 1947 Chemistry, 1950 Master's, Education - Educator, president of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, former president of the University of Illinois, former provost and vice president of the Ohio State University.
  28. Lauren R. Donaldson, 1931 Master's, Fisheries and Biology - Professor Emeritus, UW School of Fisheries, developer of the "Donaldson Trout" and the salmon run which returns each year to the School of Fisheries.
  29. George Hitchings, 1927 Chemistry, 1928 Master's - Nobel Prize winner, biochemist responsible for the discovery of Imuran (a drug that suppresses the body's tendency to reject transplant tissue), retired vice president of research, development, and medicine for Burroughs Wellcome, and former president of Burroughs Wellcome Fund.
  30. George W. Jeffs, 1945 Aeronautics and Astronautics - Aeronautical engineer, space technology executive, major contributor to Apollo, Skylab and Space Shuttle programs, former president of Rockwell International Corporation's North American Operations and former corporate vice president of Rockwell.
  31. George Tsutakawa, 1937 Art - Internationally known artist and sculptor, and Professor Emeritus, UW School of Art.
  32. William B. Hutchinson, 1932 Biology - Surgeon and former president of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
  33. Robert A. Dahl, 1936 Political Science - Academician, author, and Sterling Professor of Political Science at Yale University.
  34. Donald E. Petersen, 1946 Mechanical Engineering - Engineer, automotive executive, past president of the Ford Motor Company.
  35. Arthur R. Anderson, 1934 Civil Engineering - Inventor, industrialist, structural engineer, and authority on pre-stressed concrete.
  36. Dael L. Wolfle, 1927 Education - Academician, author and government adviser on matters of science and public policy.
  37. John Steiner, 1940 Aeronautics and Astronautics - Aerodynamicist and international leader in air transportation field. Former vice president of corporate product development for The Boeing Company.
  38. Victor B. Scheffer, 1930 Zoology - Retired senior biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and naturalist, conservationist, and internationally recognized mammalogist.
  39. Angus Livingstone Bowmer, 1930 Dramatic Arts Education, 1934 Master's - Founder and retired producing director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland.
  40. Edwin Guthman, 1944 Journalism - Nationally known journalist and editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
  41. Imogene Cunningham, 1907 Chemistry - Internationally known San Francisco photographer.
  42. (None awarded) - Special presentation to Dr. Charles E. Odegaard on his retirement as UW president.
  43. Andrew Felton Brimmer, 1951 Business Administration - Noted African-American educator and member of the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System.
  44. Chester Robert Huntley, 1942 Drama - Radio and television news broadcaster for National Broadcasting Company (NBC).
  45. Edward E. Carlson, 1932 - Board Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Western International Hotels. Later became Board Chairman of United Airlines.
  46. Dr. George J. Stigler, 1931 Business Administration - Nobel Prize winner. Noted economist and Charles R. Wahlgreen Professor of American Institutions at the University of Chicago.
  47. Dr. Paul B. Beeson, 1929 Unspecified School - Eminent medical academician and clinician and Nuffiels Professor of Clinical Medicine at Oxford University.
  48. Dr. Bertram D. Thomas, 1929 Chemistry - President of Batelle Memorial Institute.
  49. Dr. Neal E. Miller, 1931 Arts and Sciences - Leading behavioral scientist and professor of psychology at Yale University.
  50. Esther Mohr Raushenbush, 1921 Business Administration - President of Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, New York.
  51. Horace W. McCurdy - Industrialist, civic leader and past president and retired board chairman of Puget Sound Bridge and Drydock Company.
  52. Dr. James Gilliuly, 1921 Geology - Staff scientist for the U.S. Geological Survey and internationally famous geologist.
  53. Dr. Frank L. Horsfall Jr., 1927 Education - Research scientist and president and director of the Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research in New York City.
  54. Dr. Richard E. Fuller, 1924 Geology - President and director of the Seattle Art Museum and eminent geologist.
  55. Minoru Yamasaki, 1934 Architecture - Internationally known Detroit architect and Seattle-born Japanese-American.
  56. Samuel G. Baker, 1925 Civil Engineering - Leader in industrial chemistry and head of the Organic Chemicals Department of the Du Pont Company.
  57. Riley Harris Allen, 1902 Communications - Leader in journalism and editor of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.
  58. Clair L. Egtvedt, 1920 Civil Engineering - Leader in aeronautical engineering and board chairman of the Boeing Airplane Company.
  59. William C. Newberg, 1933 Mechanical Engineering - Automotive engineer and president of the Dodge Division of Chrysler Corporation.
  60. Carrol M. Shanks, 1921 Business Administration - President of the Prudential Insurance Company of America.
  61. Welton D. Becket, 1927 Architecture - Internationally known Los Angeles architect.
  62. Robert S. MacFarlane, 1922 Law - President of Northern Pacific Railway Company.
  63. Walter B. Beals, 1901 Law - Eminent jurist and former Washington State Supreme Court Justice.
  64. Dr. Alfred S. Strauss, 1905 Pharmacy - Famed surgeon.
  65. Charles William Harris, 1903 Civil Engineering - UW Professor of Engineering and leading authority on hydraulic engineering.
  66. Dr. Henry Schmitz, 1915 Botany - Professor of Forestry and Dean of College of Agriculture, Forestry and Home Economics at the University of Minnesota; President of the University of Washington 1952-1958.
  67. Kenneth C. Collins - Advertising and public relations executive and vice president of the Burlington Mills Corporation of New York.
  68. Edward Weber Allen, 1909 Ph.D., Law - Lawyer and international fisheries authority.
  69. Waldo L. Semon, 1920 Chemical Engineering - World leader in industrial chemistry.
  70. Robert B. Irwin, 1906 General Studies - Internationally known for his aid to the American Foundation for the Blind.
  71. Eric A. Johnston, 1917 General Studies - Business and civic leader.
  72. Dr. Loyal Shoudy, 1904 Arts and Sciences - Industrial medicine practitioner and researcher.
  73. Philip Gustav Johnson, 1916 Engineering - Aviation engineer and executive.
  74. Dr. Temple Fay, 1917 Zoology - Neurologist, surgeon and physician.
  75. Elizabeth Sterling Soule, 1926 Nursing - Organizer and Director (and later Dean) of the UW School of Nursing.
  76. Henry Granger Knight, 1902 Chemistry, 1904 Master's, Chemistry - Research scientist and head of the U.S. Department of Chemistry and Soils.
  77. Dr. Trevor Kincaid, 1899 Biology - Distinguished scientist, UW professor of Zoology, "Father of the Pacific Northwest Oyster Industry," and founder of the UW Friday Harbor Laboratories.
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