UW News

May 26, 2020

Gift promotes added diversity at UW School of Law

UW News

UW Regent Blaine Tamaki and his wife, Preciosa Tamaki, have made a gift to UW School of Law.

The University of Washington today announced a $250,000 gift from UW Regent Blaine Tamaki and his wife, Preciosa Tamaki, to the School of Law to support efforts to increase diversity, provide students with greater access to mental health resources, and support the work of UW Law faculty and students in the Tribal Court Clinic, part of the Native American Law Center.

“We are immensely grateful for this wonderful gift from the Blaine and Precy Tamaki Foundation,” said Mario L. Barnes, the Toni Rembe Dean of the UW School of Law. “Precy and Regent Tamaki have been stalwart supporters since my arrival at UW Law.  As two individuals who experienced law school as a somewhat alienating environment when we were students, Regent Tamaki and I are committed to ensuring UW Law continues to honor its access mission and create a welcoming community for all students.”

“This gift will further the law school’s ability to recruit excellent students with diverse backgrounds and experiences, as well as expand the services we are able to provide for students,” Barnes said. “We are so fortunate to be able to partner with generous donors to support our students and advance our institutional values.”

The Blaine and Preciosa Tamaki Diversity Fund for Graduate Students was prompted by the desire to encourage a diverse and thriving student body in the law school. The gift, divided into four contribution areas, will be distributed over two years:

  • $150,000 to create five new diversity scholarships each year
  • $50,000 to support mental health services for students
  • $40,000 to support the Tribal Court Clinic
  • $10,000 to support diversity training and pipeline events geared to building a diverse applicant pool

Preciosa and Blaine Tamaki have made a gift to UW School of Law.

The donors hope to improve the experience of historically underrepresented students and provide support, focusing on recruitment, retention and encouragement for students.

UW Law is committed to diversity, inclusive excellence, equity and multiculturism. School leadership is mindful that the school community has not always created a welcoming and inclusive environment for people of color and underrepresented groups, and leadership believes that together the various forms of inequality that persists in society and at UW Law can be confronted.

“We are all partners in the critically important work of developing an environment that allows each of us to thrive in our work and learning,” Barnes said. “Embracing diversity in all forms has been central to my vision for UW Law since becoming dean in 2018 because I believe it is our diversity of experiences and perspectives that will contribute to improving legal education and the practice of law.”

Blaine Tamaki graduated from the University of Washington School of Law in 1982 and felt the impact of being one of few minority students attending the law school.

“I disliked law school,” Blaine Tamaki recalled. “I actually developed a ‘chip on my shoulder’ about racial inequality and searched for my own ethnic identity through my law school friends who were all people of color.”

He went on to spend his 38-year career in Yakima, and his practice has since expanded with offices in Eastern and Western Washington. Blaine Tamaki, 63, was named Trial Lawyer of the Year by the Washington State Association for Justice in 2012. Among his many clientele and accomplishments, he has represented hundreds of Native American adults who were sexually abused as children by Jesuit and Catholic priests at residential schools throughout the Pacific Northwest. He was asked to join the UW Board of Regents in 2018 and continues to serve.

“I can give back now,” Blaine Tamaki said of the gift. “And with Dean Mario Barnes passionately speaking out for more diversity, the time for me to help out is now.  As a proud Regent at the UW, we are all very proud of the UW Law School and its vital contribution in correcting the injustices in our society.”

The gift comes in the midst of the University’s philanthropic campaign, “Be Boundless – For Washington, For the World.” Student support is the backbone of transforming the student experience, a core pillar of our campaign.

For more information about diversity at UW Law, click on law.uw.edu/diversity. Students interested in learning more about scholarship opportunities can contact Dean Anna Endter at aendter@uw.edu.