Give to the UW

About the Gates family

The William H. Gates family has an unparalleled record of service to the University of Washington, the community, the region and the world. While attending the UW, William H. Gates II met Mary Maxwell, his future wife and partner of 44 years. Bill earned his UW law degree in 1950 and launched what would prove to be a long and successful career as a founding partner of the Seattle law firm Preston Gates & Ellis.

Mary served on the UW Foundation Board of Directors, the UW Medical Center Board and the School of Business Administration’s Advisory Board. She was a UW Regent for 18 years and an outspoken champion of undergraduate education. Mary Gates Hall, which houses the UW’s office of Undergraduate Education, stands as a testament to her many contributions. Annual proceeds from the Mary Gates Endowment for Students — the UW’s largest — attract exceptionally able high school seniors to the UW, support student research with world-renowned faculty and develop student leadership potential through partnerships with faculty and community mentors.

Bill and Mary’s children, Kristianne Blake, Bill Gates III and Libby Gates Armintrout, have made outstanding contributions to the UW and to higher education in the state of Washington. Libby is a board member of the Seattle Schools Fund for Excellence and the UW Carlson Leadership and Public Service Office. She and her husband, Doug, are generous contributors to the UW.

Kristianne is a former member of the Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board, a state agency committed to increasing opportunities for Washington residents to obtain a university education. In 2006, Gov. Christine Gregoire appointed Kristianne to the UW Board of Regents.

Bill III and his wife Melinda have made financial contributions to the UW that are unmatched in the institution’s history, including helping to make possible a new home for the UW College of Engineering and the UW School of Law, providing scholarship funding for hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students and enabling the recruitment and retention of many of the stellar faculty members who make the UW a world-class institution.

Bill Sr. served as chair of the UW Foundation Board from 2001 to 2006, 15 years on the Board of Regents from 1997 to 2012, and his leadership of Campaign UW: Creating Futures resulted in tremendous success, raising $2.68 billion in eight years and helping to ensure the future strength of the University of Washington.

In 1996, Bill married Mimi Gardner, whose direction of the Seattle Art Museum from 1994 to 2008 gave her distinct perspectives and insight in her role as a member of the College of Arts and Sciences Advisory Board. Bill and Mimi give generously to the UW School of Law, intercollegiate athletics and diversity initiatives, among multiple other UW priority areas.