Office of the President

December 14, 2021

Through vision and empathy, Stan Barer, ’63 changed the world

Ana Mari Cauce

Across our University and far beyond it, we are mourning the passing of Stan Barer, ’63, a former regent, alumnus and dear friend. Through his enormous legacy of public service and philanthropy, Stan leaves the world a more equitable, open and prosperous place. His inspiring vision, as well as his tireless efforts to realize it, have left profound and indelible marks on the University of Washington and so many individuals whose lives he and his wife and partner Alta helped to change for the better.Portrait of Stan Barer

As a young Jewish man from Walla Walla, Washington, Stan recognized the barriers he faced because of bigotry and discrimination, and throughout his life, he worked not only to overcome those barriers personally, but to remove them for all people. He earned his law degree from the UW School of Law as a pathway to self-sufficiency, but ultimately put it to use in service of creating pathways to opportunity and prosperity for all. For example, he helped author the landmark legislation Civil Rights Act of 1964, and later to help reopen trade between the U.S. and China.

A passionate advocate for the UW, Stan brought his unique vision to everything he did here. Over a half century of volunteering for and supporting the University, he not only embodied the values that define the UW but actually helped to shape them. The University we are today reflects his extraordinary impact, as it will for generations to come.

Stan wore numerous hats as a UW leader, including as a regent during the Great Recession, a member of the UW Foundation Board and in volunteer roles at UW Law, UW Medicine and the Burke Museum. In every instance, his acumen, strategic vision, experience, kindness and humor were vital to our capacity to honor our mission of public service, which he understood so well. These same wonderful qualities also made him a joy to have as a friend and traveling companion, as I discovered on a trip to Cuba with him.

Stan is everywhere you look at the UW, but one of his most enduring legacies will unquestionably be his deep involvement with UW Law, where he and Alta created the Barer Institute for Law & Global Human Services, including its innovative fellowship program. The fellowship program has transformed the lives of the fellows – midcareer lawyers from developing countries – and the people and places they represent, the true manifestation of Stan’s passion for the power of law to advance justice, equity and human rights. His vision of lawyers as leaders will live on in the program and in the outward ripples created by the fellows past, present and future.

Stan’s spirit of generosity and humanity infused his philanthropy and leadership, which made it a great joy and privilege to honor him as this year’s Gates Volunteer Service Award recipient. We present this annual award to individuals whose service and impact have been transformative to the UW, which perfectly describes Stan. I will forever be grateful that we had the opportunity to honor him in this way, and to let him know how much he was loved and appreciated by our entire Husky community.

We will miss Stan deeply, but we can take comfort from the many ways he changed our lives and our world for the better – including inspiring each of us to lead with our values: to be generous, to live with integrity, and to seek the common humanity we all share. We send our love and condolences to the Barer family and all who knew Stan, and we will always remember him as a champion of the UW and the better world he helped make possible.