About the Innovation Imperative


At the University of Washington, we’re not only one of the world’s leading public research universities, we’re a community of students, faculty and staff united by a drive to serve the public good. From educating future leaders and advancing inclusive innovation, to research breakthroughs that save and change lives, we’re committed to helping people and communities reach their full potential.

The Innovation Imperative

A UW student works in the Precision-Control-Lab

The UW Innovation Imperative empowers students and researchers to learn, discover and build solutions to tomorrow’s challenges. It encourages innovation by providing the space and opportunity for people from all backgrounds — from the humanities to the sciences, the poetic and the pragmatic — to connect, imagine and discover.

We are accomplishing this through a breadth of opportunities with CoMotion serving as the collaborative innovation hub, the Global Innovation Exchange (GIX) serving as an academic/industry nexus for multidisciplinary learning in technology and innovation, the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship serving UW students and early-stage entrepreneurs, and many other UW colleges and schools offering resources, activities, and classes.


Whether you are a student, entrepreneur, investor or other community member, these Frequently Asked Questions will guide you in the right direction.

Q: How can I become an entrepreneur?

A: There are many ways for UW students and faculty to begin their journey. Many students take courses at the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship or at the many other UW colleges and schools that offer classes in this space. For students, faculty or researchers who have intellectual property they wish to commercialize, please set up a consultation with CoMotion.

Q: What kind of courses does UW offer in innovation and entrepreneurship?

A: UW offers innovation and entrepreneurship classes through the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship as well as a number of its colleges and schools including Art, Environment, Computer Science, Engineering, Business, Medicine, Law and the Global Innovation Exchange. Learn more on our classes page.

Q: What mentorship opportunities does UW offer?

A: Mentors can mean the difference between success and failure for early-stage entrepreneurs.  UW offers connections to mentors for its students and budding entrepreneurs, and also offers industry and nonprofit leaders the opportunity to become a mentor.

Q: Where can I find seed funding?

A: UW offers a number of vehicles for students and faculty to obtain funding for the development of their innovations. Learn more in the Funding Opportunities section immediately below.

Q: Where can I find legal advice?

A: The Entrepreneurial Law Clinic (ELC) is an innovative clinic serving entrepreneurs throughout the Pacific Northwest. It teams law and business students with pro bono attorneys and business advisors. Together they provide critical early-stage legal and business counseling to technology and social entrepreneurs, small business owners, nonprofits, and UW and Institute for Translational Health Sciences faculty researchers.

Q: How can I recruit teammates for my startup?

A: Building a great team is one of the most important parts of creating a startup. Finding people with diverse skills, strengths and perspectives will increase your likelihood of succeeding. There are many ways to find teammates. One way is to participate in a competition or hackathon. You can also find people to work with in any Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship class, another entrepreneurial class, or one of the clubs around campus [link to Classes and Clubs page]. The Startup Tree platform is another way to connect with potential teammates.

Q: Where can I find more information about licensing and intellectual property, including patent rights and software copyrights?

A: CoMotion, UW’s collaborative innovation hub, is the best place to start.

Q: How can I find out about on-campus office space for my startup?

A: CoMotion Labs provides a multi-industry incubation environment for early-stage startups with a focus on UW spinoffs. From critical infrastructure to just-in-time learning, mentoring, and networking, CoMotion Labs nurtures company growth and enables success.

Didn’t find what you were looking for? Contact CoMotion or the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship.

Funding opportunities

UW offers a number of vehicles for students and faculty to obtain funding for the development of their innovations.

Hand spreading water droplets on tiny plants.

CoMotion Innovation Gap Fund: A bridge between research grants and seed-stage investment.

CoMotion DubPitch: Bi-annual pitch event for UW startups who are fundraising.

CoMotion Director’s Award: Financial support for UW innovations addressing a societal need.

WE-REACH: Teaching and funding tools to address challenges in health.

NSF I-Corps: Customer discovery program for ideas with commercial potential.

Buerk Center Prototype Funding: Funding to help make your model/prototype for Buerk Center competitions.

SBIR/STTR Guidance & Advising: Assistance in writing applications for these small business programs as part of a commercialization strategy.

EarthLab Innovation Grants: Invests in teams of UW researchers, students and non-academic partners developing innovative solutions to pressing environmental challenges.

Mistletoe Research Fellowship: Awards grants for startups with a high potential for social and humanitarian impact.

Mobility Innovation: Funding for projects that tackle transportation challenges, using applied research and experimentation.

UW Innovation Roundtable

The UW Innovation Roundtable aims to optimize UW’s technology transfer effectiveness, enhance an already vibrant innovation ecosystem, expand startup creation, and identify opportunities for private/public partnerships to advance the UW’s economic and societal impact.

Role of Innovation Roundtable

  • Connect, grow, and strengthen the innovation investment ecosystem in the Pacific Northwest region.
  • Advise on university-wide innovation strategy and initiatives.
  • Help foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship across campus.
  • Inform best practices in commercialization and innovation, including licensing and IP practices.
  • Assist with business development strategy for new initiatives.
  • Advocate for the role the UW plays within the greater Seattle regional innovation ecosystem.

Roundtable members

Innovation Roundtable members serve as UW innovation ambassadors in the broader community, providing connections and ideas that may further the university’s innovation strategies.

François Baneyx, director, CoMotion; UW vice provost for innovation

francois baneyx

François Baneyx has served as the University of Washington Vice Provost for Innovation and Director of CoMotion since 2019. The Charles W.H. Matthaei Professor of Chemical Engineering and an adjunct professor of Bioengineering, Dr. Baneyx is an internationally recognized authority on protein production technologies and the biological fabrication of advanced materials with applications in medicine, sensing, opto-electronics, and catalysis. For his contributions to these fields, he was elected to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2013), the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (2015), the American Academy of Microbiology (2015), and the Washington State Academy of Sciences (2016).

As Vice Provost for Innovation, Dr. Baneyx drives and coordinates innovation activities, builds connections with the economic development community, and engages with industry, government, nonprofits, and the regional and global innovation ecosystems to shape the university’s innovation strategies. He directs CoMotion, overseeing intellectual property protection and licensing, training of a diverse entrepreneurial workforce, and funding and mentorship programs that support the creation, incubation, and launch of startups.

Dr. Baneyx also directs the Center for the Science of Synthesis Across Scales, a multi-institution Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. He previously served in various leadership positions, including site director of the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (2004-2012), director of the Center for Nanotechnology (2005-2013), and most recently, chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering (2014-2019). He is the co-founder of Proteios, a University of Washington spinoff dedicated to reducing the cost and complexity of protein and therapeutic cell purification.

Dr. Baneyx earned a doctoral degree in chemical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. He was a postdoctoral researcher at DuPont before joining the University of Washington faculty in 1992.

Tom Daniel, president and chief executive officer, Washington Research Foundation

Dr. Tom Daniel is trained in biology and engineering and has been working at the interface of these domains for the past 40 years. As WRF Chief Executive Officer (effective October 1, 2022), he leads all Foundation grantmaking and investment activities and works closely with the Board to advance its commitment to life sciences in Washington state.

Dr. Daniel has exceptional expertise in science and technology. At the University of Washington, he was on the Biology faculty for 38 years and held the Joan and Richard Komen Endowed Chair, as well as adjunct appointments in Computer Science and Engineering, Bioengineering and Mechanical Engineering. He was also the co-director of the Washington Research Foundation-supported UW Institute of Neuroengineering.

Throughout his academic career, Daniel published more than 100 research papers and conference abstracts. His research melded neuroscience, engineering, computing and biomechanics to understand the control and dynamics of movement in biology. He oversaw several federal grants, all focused on sensorimotor control of movement in living systems.

Dr. Daniel holds undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of Wisconsin and a Doctoral Degree in Biology from Duke, and completed postdoctoral training in engineering sciences at Caltech. He is a Fellow of the American Association of Science, a Guggenheim Fellow, a member of the Washington State Academy of Sciences, and was awarded the MacArthur Fellowship.

Dr. Daniel serves on the board of directors for Allen Institute, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, and is part of the NSF Federal Advisory Committee for the Directorate for Biological Sciences.

Neal Dempsey, managing general partner, Bay Partners

neal dempseyNeal Dempsey is Managing General Partner of Bay Partners, one of the longest-running venture capital firms in Silicon Valley. Forbes has named him as one of the top 100 venture capitalists in the world. Throughout his career, Mr. Dempsey has served on over seventy-five public and private boards for companies. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business.

Giving back is a cornerstone of Mr. Dempsey’s investing philosophy. In addition to being awarded the Gates Volunteer Service Award, he has endowed scholarship funds for students, young assistant professors and athletes at the University of Washington, Willamette University, and Claremont McKenna College. He provided leadership for the Capital Campaigns for Dempsey Hall and Dempsey Indoor.

A lover of outdoors, Mr. Dempsey serves on the board of ACES, an environmental organization in Aspen, Colorado. He also is the Chair of Uplift Family Services, which helps over 30,000 children and their family members recover from trauma, such as abuse, severe neglect, addiction, and poverty.

Chris DeVore, founder and managing partner, Founders Co-op

Chris DeVore

Chris DeVore is the Founder and Managing Partner of Founders’ Co-op, the Pacific Northwest’s leading seed-stage venture fund. In that role, Chris led the seed rounds for Seattle’s most recent successful IPO Remitly (NASDAQ:RELY) and $4B+ Outreach, was an early backer of Auth0 (acquired by Oka for $6.5B), and led or participated in the first round financings of over 100 additional startups in the region. Chris also co-founded and led the Seattle branch of the global Techstars startup accelerator from 2010 to 2019, supporting an additional 100+ founding teams from inception through their first fundraise.

Previously, a co-founder of Adjacency (acquired by NASDAQ: SAPE), Chris also created outdoor retailer Patagonia’s first online store and led product and business strategy teams at AT&T and McCaw Cellular. As a community volunteer, Chris co-chaired the City of Seattle’s Economic Development Commission, partnered with the University of Washington to create Startup Hall (a commercial innovation space located on the UW Campus), and is a current Board member of Friends of Waterfront Seattle, a non-profit helping to revitalize Seattle’s downtown waterfront. Chris holds a BA from Yale and attended Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.

Emer Dooley, executive director, Alliance of Angels Seed Fund; Faculty Fellow, Foster School of Business

emer dooley

Emer Dooley is an adjunct faculty member at the UW Foster School of Business and teaches entrepreneurship and strategy. Through the Arthur W. Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship, Ms. Dooley works to involve students in all aspects of company creation, technology commercialization, and investment. She raised and ran the Alliance of Angels first $4.4 million dollar Seed Fund and is a former board member of the Washington Research Foundation.

She is a trustee and former board chair of the Ashesi University Foundation, and a member of the Women’s World Banking Board. Ms. Dooley holds a PhD and MBA from the University of Washington and a BSc (Electrical Engineering) and M. Eng. from the University of Limerick.

Christine Farmer, vice president, corporate integrations, Novo Nordisk

christine farmer

Christine Farmer is the Vice President, Corporate Integrations at Novo Nordisk. In this role, Christine is responsible for ensuring value preservation and optimization in post-merger acquisitions. Prior to joining the Corporate Development organization, Christine was the Site Head of the Novo Nordisk Seattle Research Center, and the Vice President of US Research Operations with responsibility for teams supporting US R&D sites in Seattle, Boston, Indianapolis, and Fremont, California. Rounding out a career working across the life-sciences value chain, Christine spent 18 years in various marketing and sales roles both domestically and globally. She has lead a diverse group of departments that provided strategic support and infrastructure management for the commercial organization, including OmniChannel Marketing, Marketing Operations, Sales Operations, and Digital Health & Innovation.

Christine is truly passionate about building suitable and sustainable future-focused business organizations. She strives to help find the necessary balance between bold aspirations and highly functioning operational infrastructure that will enable the development of innovative health and wellness solutions.

Pradeep Fernandes, vice president of strategy, Boeing Commercial Airplanes

pradeep fernandesPradeep Fernandes is Vice President of Strategy for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. In this role, he oversees cross-functional efforts to define Boeing’s strategic direction and address complex, enterprise-wide business decisions. These include designing business models for new programs, providing internal strategy consulting, developing product and propulsion strategy, and aviation policy. Fernandes is also responsible for international business development strategy and serves on the Boeing International leadership team.

He previously served as managing director of strategy for the Confident Travel Initiative, where he was responsible for developing strategy for Boeing efforts to restore public confidence in air travel.

Fernandes has served in a variety of roles since joining Boeing in 1997. As managing director of International Strategy & Business Development, he was responsible for advancing Commercial Airplanes’ efforts to be a global leader and align international objectives across business units. He was also managing director of Boeing HorizonX, where he explored opportunities beyond the company’s core businesses, including initiatives that could potentially disrupt the core businesses themselves.

As managing director for Product Strategy at Commercial Airplanes, Fernandes led product strategy and recommended launching the newest 737 family, 777X and 787-10 Dreamliner. He also led marketing and strategy efforts to launch the Boeing Sky Interior as product manager for the Next-Generation 737. While serving in the Commercial Airplanes Supply Chain Strategy group, Fernandes led efforts to develop an overall supply chain strategy and key supplier strategies. He also spent three years in the Corporate Audit organization — working in the Configuration Engineering and Analysis and the Fleet Support Engineering groups, where he contributed to airplane performance analysis and new airplane early-configuration development.

Fernandes earned a Bachelor of Science in aerospace engineering from the Polytechnic Institute of New York University, a Master of Science in aeronautics and astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a Master of Business Administration from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Mike Halperin MD, Life Science Investor/Entrepreneur

mike halperin

Dr. Mike Halperin is a life science investor/entrepreneur and served as a General Co-Chair of the University of Washington’s 5-billion-dollar campaign – Be Boundless / For Washington, For the World. Raised in Seattle, Dr. Halperin attended Brown University and the University of Washington, where he received his M.D. He practiced Emergency Medicine for 20 years during which time he ran a clinical practice and managed a group of Emergency Physicians. Dr. Halperin is active in the bioscience startup community as a Scientific Advisor, Corporate Advisor, Board member, and investor. He is a past president of Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences (SAAS), was a founding member of numerous 501c3s, and is actively engaged in a number of civic causes as a philanthropist and fund raiser.

Bill Hilf, CEO, Vulcan LLC

bill hilf

A seasoned executive, Bill Hilf’s career spans more than 20 years leading complex businesses, product development, and philanthropic initiatives for global organizations such as Microsoft, HP, and IBM as well as a variety of technology start-ups.

Hilf currently serves as chief executive officer of Vulcan, the management firm founded in 1986 by philanthropists Jody Allen and the late Paul G. Allen, co-founder of Microsoft. Hilf leads the company’s three focus areas comprising award-winning, sustainable real estate development, a diverse range of asset and project management supporting the Paul G. Allen Estate and Trust, and strategic advising to the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and its portfolio of charitable investments in wildlife conservation, ocean health, vibrant communities, and the arts.

Hilf serves as board chair of the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, and is a board member for American Prairie and the Woodland Park Zoo. In addition, he is on the board of Grumeti Fund, dedicated to the conservation of the Serengeti, and serves as an advisor to Humanity 2.0 and X4Impact. He is also founder of High Five Hope, a nonprofit to help street children experience greater confidence, leadership, and hope through the power of sports.

Hilf completed his undergraduate studies at California State University-Fullerton and received his master’s degree from Chapman University.

Bill McAleer, founder and managing director, Voyager Capital

bill mcaleer

Bill McAleer is Managing Director at Voyager Capital, an early-stage venture firm with over $525 million under management focused on investing in tech opportunities in the Pacific Northwest. He has over 30 years of combined investing and senior executive experience in the information technology industry. At Voyager, he has participated on the boards of 27 companies, including 21 portfolio companies, focusing on cloud, software, digital media, and mobile opportunities. Fifteen of his portfolio companies were sold for exits including Amplitude, Attenex, Blue Box Group, Melodeo, NetPodium, Placecast, Tegic Communications, Yapta, and, most recently, Zipwhip for $940 million to Twilio. He has been involved in over $4.5 billion in exit transactions, including several IPO’s. He currently serves on the boards of Rowan TELS and Thoughtexchange.  He is also a board observer for Ayla and Hiya.

Prior to co-founding Voyager in 1997, Mr. McAleer was President of e.liance Partners, a consulting firm that advised information technology companies on strategy, venture financing, and corporate partnering. He served as Vice President of Finance, Chief Financial Officer and Secretary of Aldus from 1988 to 1994 when the company’s revenues grew from $30 to $240 million. Mr. McAleer was responsible for global finance, legal, operations, and acquisition activities, including completing the merger with Adobe in 1994. He also served as a senior executive with Westin Hotels from 1979 to 1987.

Bill has been active in several university organizations, including serving as the past chair and a current member of the Advisory Board for the University of Washington Buerk Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He was also a Cornell University Trustee and has served on the Advisory Boards for Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Business, the Cornell Hotel School, e.Cornell, and the Center for Entrepreneurship. He has also been active on several tech industry boards, including the Washington Technology Industry Association, Washington Technology Association, DEMO, the Canadian Financing Forum and Thayer Ventures. He earned a B.S. and an M.B.A. from Cornell University.

Matt McIlwain, managing director, Madrona Venture Group

matt mcilwain

Matt McIlwain is Managing Director of Madrona Venture Group and invests in a broad range of software and data driven companies with a focus on cloud computing, dataware, intelligent applications, and the intersections of innovation (where life science and data science intersect). He believes in the Learning Loop for entrepreneurs who journey from curiosity to triangulation and decision making. This leads to positive outcomes and ongoing learnings.

Before joining Madrona in 2000, Matt was vice president of business process for the Genuine Parts Company (NYSE:GPC). He also was an engagement manager at McKinsey & Company, concentrating on strategy and marketing in technology-driven sectors and prior to that worked in investment banking at Credit Suisse.

Matt is a board member (and previous chair) of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and a board member of Washington Policy Center. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Neal Okarter, investment manager, BASF Venture Capital

neal okarter

Neal Okarter is an Investment Manager with BASF Venture Capital, the corporate venture capital company of the BASF Group. BASF Venture Capital’s investment scope is broad. However, Neal’s investment scope tends to focus on agtech, sustainability, and biosciences. Prior to BASF Venture Capital, Neal spent more than six years with BASF Management Consulting, the internal management consultancy of the BASF Group. At BASF Management Consulting, Neal led several projects related to Marketing & Sales, Growth & Innovation, Transformational Change, Organizational Restructuring, and Mergers & Acquisition (Post-Merger Integration & Carve Out). Neal earned his BS in Nutrition, Food, and Agriculture, and PhD in Molecular Nutrition and Cell Biology from Cornell University, and his MBA from Rutgers Business School and is located in Los Angeles, CA

Annie Pearl, CVP Growth & Ecosystems, Cloud + AI, Microsoft

As Microsoft Corporate Vice President of Ecosystems, Annie Pearl leads a globally-distributed organization that empowers current and future customers to discover and engage with AI capabilities on the Microsoft Cloud. Teams under her oversight develop and build on platforms, such as Founders Hub and Microsoft Learn, to reach new audiences, skill them on Microsoft’s technology, and help them build the most innovative and AI-driven solutions.

Annie joins Microsoft with +15 years of tech leadership experience in both startup ventures and established enterprises. She served as the Chief Product Officer at Calendly, a premier scheduling automation platform. There, she led the end-to-end strategy and execution of the product vision and roadmap. Under her guidance, Calendly achieved remarkable growth, solidifying its position as the leading scheduling automation tool in the market.

Before her tenure at Calendly, Annie held the role of Chief Product Officer at Glassdoor, where she shaped the product vision and user experience for millions of job seekers and employers worldwide. Earlier in her career, she led Enterprise product teams at Box, contributing to its trajectory both before and after its 2015 IPO. Notably, Annie also played a pivotal role as the VP of Product and a founding team member at Xpert Financial, an early-stage financial services startup.

Annie started her career as a lawyer and held roles in management consulting before transitioning to the tech industry.

Linden Rhoads, UW Board of Regents and former vice provost of the UW Center for Commercialization

linden rhoads

From 2008-2014, Linden Rhoads was Vice Provost for the UW Center for Commercialization (now known as CoMotion), the unit of the University that seeks to commercialize discoveries emerging from research conducted at the UW. A scientist and J.D., prior to this Ms. Rhoads was a serial entrepreneur, mentor capitalist, and investor.

Ms. Rhoads co-founded and managed numerous high-tech start-ups including: Virtual i-O, ChiliSoft (acquired by Sun Microsystems), streaming media-search-services provider Singingfish.com (acquired by Thomson Multimedia, then by AOL), online advertising metrics leader AdRelevance (acquired by Media Metrix, then Nielsen Netratings), personalized large-scale email-campaign software provider GBI (acquired by Exchange Applications) and Nimble Technology. Through her investment company Seattle Ventures, she’s been an active technology investor, and a participant in organized angel investment groups such as the Alliance of Angels and Element 8. She has served as the General Manager of the W Fund since its inception. The W Fund backed 19 spin-outs from Washington State research institutions. Ms. Rhoads serves on the Guaranteed Education Tuition Program Governing Board, overseeing Washington’s GET and DreamAhead 529 tuition savings programs.

Tricia Serio, UW provost and executive vice president for academic affairs

Provost Tricia Serio


Tricia Serio joined the University of Washington as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs in August of this year. A biochemist, she also holds a faculty appointment in the UW School of Medicine’s Department of Biochemistry.  


As the University’s academic and budget officer, Dr. Serio leads the faculty and allocates resources to promote each student’s academic experience and success. 


Dr. Serio (she/her pronouns) came to the UW from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she was provost and senior vice chancellor for academic affairs, as well as a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. A first-generation college graduate, Dr. Serio earned her bachelor’s degree in molecular biology at Lehigh University and completed her master’s degree and Ph.D. in molecular biophysics and biochemistry at Yale. 


Dr. Serio’s research centers on prion proteins, which are associated with infectious neurodegenerative disease in mammals (e.g., mad cow disease and Creuzfeldt-Jakob Disease). She has earned numerous recognitions for her research, including being named a Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell Cancer Research Postdoctoral Fellow, and a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences. She has also received awards from the National Cancer Institute and the American Society of Cell Biology. 

Ex-officio members

Ana Mari Cauce, UW president

ana mari cauce

A member of the UW faculty since 1986, Cauce became interim president in March 2015, having previously served as provost and executive vice president, and the UW Board of Regents selected her to become the UW’s 33rd president in 2015.

Throughout her career, Cauce has championed access to higher education, including through the Husky Promise, which provides full tuition to eligible Washington students who otherwise could not attend college. As part of her strong belief in ensuring access to higher education for all, just one month into her role as interim president she engaged students in an honest discussion about race and equity, launching an effort to create a more just and diverse community.

Raised in Miami after emigrating with her family from Cuba, Cauce earned a B.A. in English and psychology from the University of Miami and a Ph.D. in psychology, with a concentration in child clinical and community psychology, from Yale University.

Cauce is a professor of Psychology and American Ethnic Studies, with secondary appointments in the Department of Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies and the College of Education. She maintains an active research program, focusing on adolescent development, with a special emphasis on at-risk youth. She is also a strong advocate for women and underrepresented minorities to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Cauce remains active in the classroom and continues to teach and mentor undergraduate and graduate students.

Mary Gresch, senior vice president for University Advancement, University of Washington

Mary is Senior Vice President for University Advancement at the University of Washington, overseeing the marketing and communications, development, alumni and stakeholder engagement, and advancement operations functions.

Mary’s career has been defined by a brand and mission-focused approach to building integrated strategy and structures for University Advancement — uniting the disciplines of communications and marketing, alumni relations, and development to serve the University’s public mission and aspirations with the greatest possible impact. She serves on the University’s Race and Equity Steering Committee and believes deeply in building shared equity leadership and in University Advancement’s role in building community internally and externally.

Prior to her appointment as Senior Vice President, Mary served as Vice President for Communications and Chief Marketing Officer for the University of Washington since 2013. Prior to joining the UW, she was the principal at Mary Gresch & Associates and served in communication capacities at Washington State University — including as the Associate Vice President for Strategic Communications and Marketing and Director of Foundation Communications. Prior to her tenure at WSU, Mary was the director of public relations and publications at the Cate School in Carpinteria, California, and a development coordinator for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Mary has also been active in CASE, the Council for Advancement and Support of Higher Education, for many years, and currently serves as chair of the national CASE Advisory Committee on the Value of Higher Education.

Rickey Hall, vice president for Minority Affairs & Diversity, University of Washington

rickey hallRickey Hall is the eighth Vice President for the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity. He leads the university’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, and plays a key role in advancing institutional excellence. He has oversight of the UW Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity (OMA&D) which administers programs that broaden college access, support student success, and enhance diversity-related teaching and learning across campus. OMA&D also works collaboratively with and serves as a resource for colleges and administrative units as they establish, coordinate, and assess their contributions to institutional diversity goals.

In addition, to being the Vice President for Minority Affairs and Diversity, Rickey is the University Diversity Officer for the University of Washington campuses.

Former members

Adriane Brown, venture partner, Flying Fish


Greg Gottesman, co-founder and managing director, Pioneer Square Labs


Ron Howell, CEO, Washington Research Foundation (Retired)


Charlotte Hubbert, senior director of business development and strategic alliances, NanoString


Amit Mital, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director at National Security Council, The White House


Susan Preston, managing member, SeaChange Fund, Seattle Angel Fund, and Element 8 Fund


Sheila Remes, vice president of strategy, Boeing Commercial Airplanes


Mark Richards, former UW provost


Julie Sunderland, managing director, BioMatics Capital

Bloomberg Profile

Bryan White, founder, Sahsen Ventures


Charlotte Yarkoni, president, commerce + ecosystems, Microsoft Corporation


In memorium

Tachi Yamada, venture partner, Frazier Healthcare Partners

Tadataka Yamada, 1945-2021: Pioneer in drug development led global health at Gates Foundation (Geekwire)



Reach out to CoMotion, the Global Innovation Exchange (GIX), or the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship and we can answer your questions and/or get you connected.

CoMotion HQ building


CoMotion partners with the UW community on their innovation journey, providing tools, connections, and acumen to transform ideas into economic and societal impact.

CoMotion Contacts

Steve Ballmer Building

Global Innovation Exchange (GIX)

The Global Innovation Exchange connects UW with industry and academic partners around the world to deliver project-based, multidisciplinary graduate and professional programs in technology and innovation, inspiring tomorrow’s leaders to address today’s most pressing challenges.

GIX Contacts

Paccar Hall exterior

Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship

The Buerk Center offers an exceptional curriculum, real-world experiences, and connections to inspire students from all majors and disciplines across campus to pursue their entrepreneurial passions.

Buerk Center Contacts