Office of the President

November 26, 2013

UW alum bequeaths $56.1 million to School of Law

University of Washington

Earlier today, the UW School of Law was part of an extraordinary announcement about a gift that will benefit not only the University of Washington, but our entire region. As the University’s closest friends, we wanted you to be the first to hear that the late Jack Rupert MacDonald ’37, ’40 – a humble yet remarkable Husky who died in September after a life of public service on behalf of our nation’s veterans – bequeathed nearly $187 million to the three causes he cared about most: the UW School of Law, Seattle Children’s and the Salvation Army. The $56.1 million he designated to the School of Law, the largest gift in the school’s history and the UW’s largest bequest ever, will create, among other things, an endowed chair and support scholarships for law students and the programs that empower them to make positive change in the world.

In this week of Thanksgiving, the announcement of Mr. MacDonald’s transformative generosity is particularly poignant and meaningful. Yet, it’s his personal story that is truly remarkable. A 1940 graduate of the School of Law, Jack served in the South Pacific during World War II. He then worked for 30 years as an attorney for the Veterans Administration in Seattle, dedicating a career in public service to improving the lives of our veterans. Despite a large family inheritance, Jack was known for frugality: he clipped coupons and rode the bus. In his spare time, he focused on investing so his family trust could provide the biggest possible benefit to the charities that mattered most to him. Jack, who died at age 98, supported the School of Law for decades as a donor and volunteer, but he kept the size of his fortune and his generous intentions a secret to almost everyone. “The UW was good to me,” he once said. “I felt I owed them something as long as I was able.”

We are grateful to Jack for sharing the values of our university and our community, and for expressing them through such an extraordinary legacy at the School of Law. And we are extremely grateful to you, the University’s family, for your enduring support. You help make the UW a place where people choose to invest in the future.

Happy Thanksgiving.


Michael K. Young
President, University of Washington

Kellye Y. Testy
Dean and James W. Mifflin University Professor of Law, UW School of Law

Connie Kravas
Vice President, University Advancement
President, UW Foundation