No doubt he will find a way to handle this challenge. Despite a career that has kept him quite busy, Gayton has devoted extraordinary time and energy to his alma mater.
A life member of the alumni association, Gayton currently chairs the UW President's Club. He served as UWAA president in 1985-86, and has been a member of the College of Arts and Sciences Development Advisory Board, the Tyee Board and the UWAA Advocate Program.
"It isn't an effort to extend myself," he says. "It is a labor of love."
It was a relationship that started early. Though his parents didn't attend the UW, Gayton has two brothers and two sisters who are UW graduates (one sister, Guela Johnson, worked for the School of Social Work for many years). Growing up in Madrona, he spent many childhood summer days in the Arboretum, catching tadpoles. When he came to the UW, he was much more than a student. He was a three-time letterman in football (playing on the 1959 team that went 10-1 and won the 1960 Rose Bowl) and ran track.
When he left the UW, "I had a yearning to be part of something important," he says. He was active with the UW Office of Minority Affairs and the Educational Opportunity Program, which got off the ground in the early 1970s. He was a founding member and remains an adviser to the UWAA's Multicultural Alumni Partnership and the UWAA Board of Trustees Diversity Committee.
During a long a career at Boeing, his connections to the UW grew stronger. As director of training and educational relations and later director of college and university relations, he worked closely with the UW on a variety of programs. In his spare time, he maintained his busy University volunteer work.
"My volunteer work was often an extension of what I did for Boeing," he says. Part of his drive is his passion for education and what it can provide for underrepresented populations. Before coming to Boeing, he was a public administration professor at Florida State University and director of affirmative action and staff training at the UW.
"For as long as I can remember, I have had so much admiration for the UW," Gayton says. "It held it in awe. Being able to serve the University is a small gesture."
For the time being, anyway, Gayton, a father of four, intends to commute from his Seattle home to his new job in Olympia. A new, big job and a long commute undoubtedly will cut into his time. "But serving the alumni association is critical if we are to maintain the University's excellence," he says. "The alumni association provides such important support to the UW, and that support must be strengthened if we are to continue to provide opportunities to everyone."--Jon Marmor
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