June 1, 2011

UW grad Malcolm Goodfellow establishes first endowed chair in Department of Architecture history

News and Information

Malcolm Goodfellow

Malcolm Goodfellow

A $1 million gift has established the first endowed chair in the Department of Architectures 97-year history.

Malcolm Goodfellow, who received bachelors degrees in architecture and construction management from the UW in 1987, honored his teacher, Barry Onouye, a senior lecturer in architecture who is retiring after 42 years of teaching.

The department plans to recruit a scholar who specializes in design, assembly and performance of architectural structures.

Barry Onouye

John Stamets

Barry Onouye

Its a good gift, but Goodfellow doesnt make a big deal of his accomplishments. At the end of a formal agreement between him and the University, theres an unusual donor statement:  “At about 2 a.m. one morning, about the time I was halfway through the architecture program,” Goodfellow writes, “I looked around the studio and self-assessed. I was struggling near the bottom of the talent pool of just 15 students; things were not looking good.”

He realized he was terrible at architecture, and needed a Plan B – fast.

He knew he could do the math and physics of construction. Whats more he liked the work — a lot. Onouye had encouraged him, saying his strengths didnt have to be in design, that he could succeed in technological areas allied to design. Goodfellow thought about these things, and the light went on.

The next day, he signed up for the Construction Management program, and life got better. He writes, “I felt good about what I was learning and how it would tie into a productive career.”

He worked hard, not only because he wanted the knowledge but because he wanted to please his parents and Onouye. Of the latter, he says, “I respected his dedication to the extent that I did not want to let him down.”

Goodfellow wound up with bachelors degrees in both architecture and construction management.

He then got a job with Howard S. Wright Construction in Seattle, and eventually bubbled off to his own projects. He built the Watertown Hotel and the University Inn, and until recently owned them along with several office buildings on Roosevelt Way, west of the UW campus.

Goodfellow now lives near Orcas Island. Asked what kind of work he does these days, he said, “Not much. Ive become a goof-off. A very lucky one.”

The architecture endowment is actually Goodfellows second gift to the UW. In 2008, he honored his uncle with the Robert R. Richards Endowed Chair in Economics. A 1961 graduate of the UW, Richards formerly chaired the Department of Economics Visiting Committee and occasionally taught in the department.