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Gates Volunteer Service Award

GVSA Walker Drawing

Maggie and Doug Walker, 2016 Gates Volunteer Service Award recipients

Two weeks after they got married in 1972, Maggie and Doug Walker packed up their car and drove from Greenville, South Carolina, to Seattle. They came for adventure and for school — Doug, for graduate studies in mathematics, and Maggie, for bachelors’ degrees in history and communication.

Their student days at the UW were the foundation of a decades-long history of generosity and leadership — a tradition of inspiration, collaboration and transformation across disciplines.

“Life is about the synergy of all things,” says Maggie. “The beauty of the UW is it’s all actually here.”

In recognition of the Walkers’ tremendous impact, the UW Foundation has honored them with the 2016 Gates Volunteer Service Award, given annually to individuals who demonstrate a deep commitment to the University through their long-term philanthropy and volunteer leadership.

True to Maggie’s broad range of interests, she has served on boards across the UW, and on committees for all the University’s major campaigns. She remains deeply involved with numerous schools and colleges, and as a director of the UW Foundation Board.

While Doug enjoyed a long, fruitful career at WRQ, a software firm he co-founded, he remained an ardent philanthropist and advocate for access to the outdoors and to education.

Tragically, Doug passed away at the beginning of this year. He was a veteran climber with countless summits under his belt. But although he stood atop many mountains, just as important to him were the people he took along with him.

Doug’s passion for helping others stretched beyond the trail and into the community, dovetailing with the drive and vision of Maggie. Together, they achieved some of their most impactful work at the University. From their creation of eight endowments in the College of Arts & Sciences to their instrumental leadership role in establishing the College of the Environment, they brought members of the UW community together — and raised it to new heights.

“There are so many different things that the University is in a position to provide,” says Maggie. “But the synergy between them is a very important part — not just the pieces.”

More about the Gates Volunteer Service Award

The Gates Volunteer Service Award is presented annually by the University of Washington and the UW Foundation to recognize and honor individuals whose long-term volunteer efforts of time, service and philanthropy have encouraged others to similarly support the University of Washington.

Recipients of the Gates Volunteer Service Award exemplify the highest standards of service to the University of Washington modeled by the singular vision and generosity of the William H. Gates family, whose volunteer service, commitment of time and philanthropy continues to advance the work of the UW in profound and enduring ways. Read more about the Gates family’s support of the University of Washington.

First presented in 2002, the award follows the tradition of the long-standing UW Recognition Award, initiated in 1976. It is one of the most distinguished accolades bestowed by the UW.

View previous Gates Volunteer Service Award recipients

View the UW Recognition Award recipients