Carlson Leadership & Public Service Center
History of the Sterling and Gene Munro Public Service Fellowship
Made possible through the support of the Henry M. Jackson Foundation, the Fellowship was originally named for S. Sterling Munro, Jr., the former top aide to the late Senator Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson and Administrator of the Bonneville Power Administration, and his wife, Gene, a lifelong public service advocate. The Fellowship is now named the Jackson Munro Public Service Fellowship to honor the legacy of both Senator Jackson and the work of Sterling and Gene Munro.
During his 25 years of public service to Washington State and the nation, Sterling Munro was extensively involved in natural resources legislation, playing an instrumental role in creating the North Cascades National Park, and contributing to the passage of the National Environmental Policy Act, the National Environmental Protection Act, and the Youth Conservation Corps Act. Munro also served on the board of directors of the Henry M. Jackson foundation and the board of trustees of Central Washington University. He also served as Vice President of John Nuveen Investments.
A native of Wenatchee, Washington, former English teacher and Cherry Blossom Princess, Gene Munro was the daughter of Victor and Vada McMullan. Victor was a rancher and political activist in Chelan County. Vada was Victor’s political partner and later was the first woman to serve as Postmaster of Wenatchee. Gene grew up in an atmosphere of activism and public service, eventually going to work as a secretary in Senator Jackson’s office, where she met Sterling. As a mother and homemaker, Gene was very active in her childrens’ schools and taught English and remedial reading part-time. She was a generous giver and participant in numerous local and national causes. In Wenatchee, Gene served for many years as secretary for the Chelan County Democrats. Recognizing the importance of encouraging public service, Gene authorized the Jackson Foundation and the Carlson Center to establish the Sterling Munro Fellowship upon Sterling’s death in 1992. In 1995, she donated Sterling’s Jackson-era papers to the University of Washington to enhance the University’s Jackson papers collection and further establish Sterling’s legacy of service. Upon Gene’s death in 2007, the Munro Fellowship was appropriately re-named the Sterling and Gene Munro Public Service Fellowship. In 2014, in consultation with the Henry M. Jackson Foundation and the children of Sterling and Gene Munro, the decision was made to rename the Fellowship the Jackson Munro Public Service Fellowship to honor all of the legacies that provide the foundation for this Fellowship.
Both Sterling and Gene Munro demonstrated throughout their lives what it meant to be stewards of public service. They did this while at the same time nurturing a large family whose members each were inspired and taught the value of giving back for the greater good. A passion for service and a balance of work, play, and family commitment fosters an atmosphere where great things are possible. We all can inspire others and be examples to the next generation of public servants so they may also carry the torch and leave this world a better place.