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Henry Suzzallo Society Newsletter Edition: 2022

newsletter cover showing images of UW in different seasons

Donors who include the University of Washington in their estate plans become members of the Henry Suzzallo Society. In this annual newsletter we celebrate our donors, showcase UW news and events, and spotlight the impact of extraordinary members of our society.

Scroll down to read each article, or view the entire newsletter (PDF).

Donor Spotlight

Donald Currie & Daniel Gladstone: Supporting diversity in architecture

donald currie and daniel gladstone sitting beside each other with their ginger cat on their laps

Donald Currie and Daniel Gladstone, Henry Suzzallo Society members

By the time Donald Currie was 11, he knew he wanted to be an architect. Now, after a career spanning more than 50 years, Donald and his husband, Daniel, want to empower a diverse  new generation of students to follow their own dreams of entering architecture.

Graduating from the UW in 1963, Donald learned the fundamentals of architecture and design, acquiring the skills he would later need in his career.

After graduation, he moved on to study at Harvard University, where he had the unique opportunity to volunteer as a teacher with the Peace Corps in Nigeria. “Not only was I teaching students about architecture and town planning,” he says, “but I was getting an education too.”

After returning to America, Donald started his career in earnest, working for two of the nation’s largest firms in the field of institutional architecture. He says that his time in Nigeria helped him work with colleagues and clients, understand diverse groups of people and help people “develop ideas that were outside their sphere of intuition.”

Early in 2020, when Donald’s office was closed due to COVID, he decided to retire. At that time, he started to reflect back on his career and experiences. The Black Lives Matter movement was growing, which made Donald further consider the racial inequities he knew of within architecture.

That reflection led to Donald and Daniel setting up an endowment to provide scholarships for UW architecture students who are connected to the Black Student Union or from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Donald and Daniel also plan to leave a significant gift to the endowment at the end of their lives.

Donald’s ultimate hope is that his scholarship will encourage Black students to enter the architecture field. “This is a time when racial inequities across various realms of society have become obvious,” he says, citing the sobering statistic that only 2% of people in architecture are Black.

Donald and Daniel’s endowment will ensure that a diverse new generation of architecture students will design our built environments, at the University of Washington and beyond.

Donor Spotlight

Joyce Tsuji – A gift in honor of a respected mentor

Joyce Tsuji smiling with Suzzallo library behind her

Joyce Tsuji, Henry Suzzallo Society member

When Joyce Tsuji decided to leave a planned gift to the UW Department of Biology, she thought it would be the perfect opportunity to honor her mentor and friend Raymond Huey.

In the mid-’80s, Joyce studied for her doctorate degree at the UW. Reflecting on that time, she remembers how difficult it was to fund her research. “Even though I had a fellowship and support from the department, sometimes it was hard trying to buy a piece of equipment or paying to go to conferences,” she says. Through her gift, Joyce will help graduate students with those same costs.

ray huey smiling through beard

Ray Huey at Hueyfest, photo by Cameron Ghalambor

But when Joyce thinks back on her studies, it’s Ray’s mentorship that sticks in her mind. “Ray was always willing to support and help and respond to a question. He encouraged me to take novel approaches to test scientific theories and gave me a lot of life lessons.”

One of those lessons: “Be appreciative of everybody you work with, including those who support you — the office staff, people in the machine shop, anybody in the building who’s helped you out,” she says.

“He led by example,” she adds. “If the office staff worked extraordinary hours to get his grant in, he would bake them a cheesecake and take it to them the next day. He was an excellent chef, so this was no ordinary cheesecake.”

Joyce continues to pass on the lessons she learned from Ray to the younger scientists she mentors.

When asked how she would tell Ray about the gift, Joyce says, “I wanted to give back for all the help I received as a graduate student. I really appreciate all the support and encouragement you gave me when I was going through graduate school. Therefore, I think this is only fitting.”

Donor Memorial

David William Foster – Giving life to new students

David William Foster smiling in front of a library shelf

David William Foster, Henry Suzzallo Society member

When he was asked why he decided to support the UW, David William Foster said, “Simply because my experience at the UW gave me a life.”

Growing up in a housing project in West Seattle, David believed there wouldn’t be many career paths open to him. But with strong support from counselors and teachers during high school, he found himself at the UW studying Spanish. There he formed a lifelong passion for Latin America and gender studies.

During the ’60s, David earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the UW and, finally, a doctorate in Romance languages and literature. He went on to a long career at Arizona State University, where he both taught as a lecturer and completed groundbreaking research into feminism and gender in Latin America.

Several years ago, David decided to include the UW in his estate plans. After he passed away, his widow, Virginia, worked with the UW Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity to create a scholarship in his honor. The scholarship will support undergraduate and graduate students who identify as Latinx — a group that has traditionally been underserved in higher education.

Virginia says of David, “He was highly recognized for his work and was awarded numerous honors and awards during his career. The community at large misses him greatly and will always remember him for his enormous intellectual presence, impact on scholarship, generosity and commitment to students.”

Though he taught for 54 years at Arizona State, David never forgot his time at the UW and the support he received. He wanted to ensure that others would have the same kind of support.

“I could never have completed my program of studies without the support and assistance I received, both from the University of Washington and various scholarship sources,” he said. “I vowed to give back when I was in a financial position to do so.”

Student Spotlight

Annie Xu – Q&A with a 2021 UW graduate in interaction design

annie xu standing in front of a large W on campus

Annie Xu, 2021 UW graduate

What was one of the hardest challenges you had to face to get your degree?

In a sense, it challenges the confidence you have in yourself. Like there were times I wanted to give up, and I thought, “Oh, I don’t belong here. What am I doing?” That’s the pessimist side of me.

Really, your self can be the biggest challenge. That self-sabotaging mentality before you’ve even started anything. That was the hardest, ‘cause there were definitely several moments where I could have just given up and done something other than design.

You helped co-found a design fraternity at UW. How did that happen?

I was always the shy, quiet, soft-spoken one. All I ever wanted was to have a group of friends like in the movies. So when I came to the UW, I wanted to find a design community that valued friendship as much as work, but it was hard to find that community.

I’m really thankful for the friends and the peers that I had, because we were able to bounce ideas off each other.

One day we were sitting under a tree in the Quad. I remember we spent the entire afternoon just brainstorming: “What’s our next club? What are we going to do?” Then we came up with the fraternity idea, because that wasn’t done before and we thought it was cool.

Ultimately, it came from a place of wanting to provide a community where designers can feel like they have support. A community that I wish I’d had when I came to college.

Do you have a favorite place on campus?

It’s a cliché, but it’s got to be the Quad. It’s beautiful there in the spring, and it really is the centerpiece of the campus.

I’ve got a lot of memories there too, and like I said, that’s where the frat started. Just sitting under that tree or sitting on a bench with a classmate.

During her time at UW, Annie Xu received the Wong Suey Lee Memorial Scholarship.

suey lee smiling with hills in backgroundIn 2006, Wong Suey Lee created a scholarship to offer support to students who cannot afford to attend UW without financial assistance. Born in British Columbia, Canada, to Chinese immigrant parents, Suey later immigrated to America to join the Army. The first and only member of his family to go to college, he earned a degree in electrical engineering from the UW in 1956. After a long career, Suey passed away in 2014, adding more funds to his scholarship, which continues to help students today.