Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity

October 26, 2021

OMA&D Welcomes Regent Leonard Forsman

Leonard Forsman | Crosscut

UW Regent Leonard Forsman, chairman of Suquamish Tribe – photo courtesy of Crosscut

On Monday October 25, 2021, Governor Jay Inslee appointed Leonard Forsman to the UW Board of Regents. This historic appointment makes Regent Forsman the first American Indian to serve on the board.

Forsman is deeply involved in many areas of UW, including providing decades of support to the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity (OMA&D). As chairman of the Suquamish Tribe, he played an active role in realizing the decades-long dream of building wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ – Intellectual House, a longhouse-style facility on the UW Seattle campus which provides a multi-service learning and gathering space for American Indian and Alaska Native students, faculty and staff to share knowledge.

After graduating from UW (’87), Regent Forman remained connected with the university and has provided counsel to OMA&D, the Burke Museum, and on American Indian issues across campus. He has long been a steadfast supporter for student success in all areas of study. In a tweet, UW President Ana Mari Cauce congratulates Forsman, “He’s a dedicated leader and advocate for Indigenous students and tribal nations and I’m thrilled that he’s joining the board,” Cauce says.

From Gov. Inslee’s news release, “I am humbled and honored to receive this appointment to the UW Board of Regents. As a student in the early 1980s, I dreamed of a day when tribal students and tribal nations would be recognized appropriately on campus and beyond. This is a great step towards realizing that dream, and I take seriously the responsibility bestowed upon me to serve the university and the tribes,” Forsman said. “I look forward to working on tribal issues such as promoting construction of Phase II of the Intellectual House, enhancing and expanding the UW’s research efforts to serve Indian Country priorities, such as climate change, and urging the support or tribal education initiatives which include recruiting native students, training native teachers, developing tribal curriculum, and encouraging more research projects that benefit Indian Country. I would like to thank Governor Inslee for selecting me to help lead this prestigious institution and my tribal council and citizens for their support.”

OMA&D has worked closely with Regent Forsman for many years. “The University is gaining another strong leader in Regent Forsman, and I look forward to deepening our partnerships with him in his historic appointment to the UW Board of Regents,” says Rickey Hall, Vice President of OMA&D and University Diversity Officer. “His steadfast advocacy for American Indian and Alaskan Native students across all three campuses has already had a substantial impact on campus diversity and inclusion. We are richer as a university for his leadership.”

Join us in OMA&D in congratulating Regent Forsman on his appointment!

Read the complete announcement on Gov. Inslee’s website.