Office of the President

May 11, 2020

Remembering Dr. Gabriel Gallardo and his legacy of opportunity

Ana Mari Cauce

Our community mourns the passing of Dr. Gabriel Gallardo,’89, ’93, ’00, a leader and friend who helped shape a generation of young scholars. Although his loss is deeply felt, his vibrant legacy lives on in the accomplishments of the many students he mentored and the innumerable opportunities he created for them to discover and pursue their passions. His impact on the University of Washington is immeasurable and lasting and we are grateful for his incredible life and service.

Gabe was devoted to opening the doors of higher education to low-income and underrepresented students and the impact of the initiatives he led and created made a huge difference for countless students. After earning his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in geography at the UW, he went on to hold a host of leadership positions here. And while his responsibilities grew over the years, his focus on students and creating opportunities for them never wavered. His leadership within the Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity was transformative. Throughout his career, he pursued creative and innovative ways to reach the most underserved and underrepresented students and worked tirelessly to enable every student to dream with fearless ambition.

As the founder of the McNair Scholars Program, Gabe not only helped recruit minority students to pursue higher education, but provided the support and encouragement for many of them to go on to earn graduate and terminal degrees. His support for students went far beyond creating the programs and pathways for them to succeed – he was personally invested in their success, and it was a joy to see him help young scholars develop their talents, find their voices and envision their own potential in completely new ways. He knew how to really listen to young people. Today, many of those young scholars whom he nurtured are themselves mentors to a new generation. Gabe will live on in them and on down through all the generations to come.

We will miss Gabe’s warmth, kindness and love of life, his booming laugh, and his steady presence. He will be deeply missed by all of us who knew him and by the many students whose lives were forever changed because of his faith in their ability. But we can take comfort in the knowledge that his legacy is the one he chose and worked for all his life: a generation of students who have found incredible success and satisfaction in academia who now pass on that love of learning and discovery to their own students. Our University extends our deepest sympathies to Gabe’s wife, Veronica and his children, grandchildren and all of his loved ones.