• 11 • Commencement Speaker Dr. Benjamin Danielson, a distinguished pediatrician and the Senior Medical Director and Janet and Jim Sinegal Endowed Chair for the Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic (OBCC), is this year’s Commencement speaker. Dr. Danielson is also a clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington, where he received his medical degree in 1992, after completing undergraduate studies at Harvard University. He did his residency at Seattle Children’s Hospital and continues to see patients there. His early life was anything but sheltered. He was briefly in foster care, before being rescued by his mother who, as a Peace Corps Volunteer, came back into his life and took him and his sister to La Paz, Bolivia. When he was 5, his mother moved the family to a low-income neighborhood of Washington, D.C., where, he says, he “skipped school and hung around with the wrong people.” Six years later the family moved again, this time to Montana, where they faced not only economic hardship but racial bigotry. Through it all his mother, who taught mathematics in Washington D.C. and eventually earned a degree in silviculture and botany from the University of Montana, instilled in him the value of education. Today Dr. Danielson draws upon his extensive training and deep wells of personal experience to improve the health and circumstances of low-income children and families throughout Washington State. He is a founding co-director of the Washington Medical-Legal Partnership, a program that provides direct legal assistance to Washington families, trains healthcare providers on important legal issues, and advocates to bring about systematic changes to improve the healthcare system. Dr. Danielson also serves on the Washington State Health Benefit Exchange, the King County Board of Heath, various boards of philanthropic organizations, and community groups dedicated to health issues. In 2016, Dr. Danielson received the Norm Maleng Youth Advocate Award from the Center for Children and Youth Justice for his “exemplary leadership and advocacy for all youth in Washington, with a special focus on systematic reform to improve the lives of underserved youth.” In 2017, he achieved national recognition as the recipient of the Simms/Mann Institute’s Whole Child Award. The award honors extraordinary leaders in medicine and education.