See More

Solynn McCurdy, ’01 | At-Large Trustee

Class of 2011, Bachelor’s of Arts, Sociology

Why I Serve

I grew up near Capitol Hill and the Central District of Seattle with the UW as a constant in the background. In my youth, I visited campus on multiple occasions for track and field events and youth enrichment programs often organized by the Office of Minority Affairs or student organizations. My maternal grandparents were insistent that I pursue higher education to ensure my long-term success and opportunity. Their encouragement contributed to me becoming the first university graduate in my immediate family.

Every college journey is unique. Mine included activities like the Black Student Union and a historic Black fraternity. I also became a father as a sophomore and frequently struggled with feelings of anxiety, self-doubt and depression. It was challenging, and there were moments of uncertainty about continuing my studies. However, countless people refused to let me fail. One professor particularly invested in me by providing mentorship and academic guidance, connecting me with resources and generally seeing and supporting me as a person. With his help, I pursued an internship at the Meredith Mathews East Madison YMCA and Aki Kurose Middle School. This sparked my early desire for working with youth and my subsequent career path in philanthropy and diversity, equity and inclusion.

Pursuing higher education can be a path of building a more resilient community particularly for students and alumni who may not feel “seen or heard.” As a trustee, I aim to support policies and practices that not only aid students to gain admission but provide continued care for them to persist, graduate, pursue a living wage career and make a meaningful contribution. We will all ultimately benefit as the university embraces the many lived experiences of our students and alumni in ways that are truly equitable, inclusive and transformative.


Solynn McCurdy is senior vice president, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Officer, for Symetra Life Insurance Company. In this role, he leads the holistic DEI strategy across the company, benefiting products, partners, customers and employees.

Solynn joined Symetra from BECU, where he was senior vice president of Social Impact, leading all philanthropic and financial health efforts, community engagement and cooperative community advocacy. Prior to joining BECU, Solynn was chief executive officer at Social Venture Partners Seattle and led social impact programs at Premera Blue Cross. Additionally, he served as director of external affairs at Seattle University.