Michael L. and Myrna Darland Endowed Chair in Technology Commercialization
Michael L. and Myrna Darland established the chair in 1996 to enable the University of Washington to attract and retain a distinguished faculty member in the School of Business Program for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (PEI). In 2004, they redefined the purpose of the chair to enable the University to attract and retain a distinguished faculty member, one who has excelled in technology development and commercialization, in the Department of Bioengineering.
Mr. Darland co-founded Digital Systems International, Inc. (DSI) in 1979 with $15,000 and brought it public in 1990. He served as president, CEO, and COB (chairman of the board) of DSI from 1979 until 1995. In 1990, he received the High Technology Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Washington state.
Mr. Darland was a technical representative for the Urban Mass Transportation Administration of the U.S. DOT for 17 states and Puerto Rico from 1970 to 1972. From 1972 to 1975, he served as director of Transportation Planning for Puget Sound Council of Governments and as technical director for the original 1972 Metro Transit Plan. As a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in Peru, Mr. Darland relocated 15,000 residents from urban slums into two new communities he helped develop. He retired from DSI’s board in 1996.
Mr. Darland has two fly-fishing and sport adventure lodges in Chilean Patagonia. Recently he financed Gary Loomis’s “restart-up” to design and manufacture composite fishing rods now being judged as the finest in the world. A member of Alpha Delta Phi fraternity, Mr. Darland earned an undergraduate degree in general studies in 1965, and a master’s of urban and regional planning in 1969 from the University of Washington.
Myrna Darland graduated from Cornell University in 1963 with a B.S. in botany and science education, returning to Cornell in 1965 on a National Science Foundation fellowship to earn a master’s degree in earth science in 1966. During her professional career, she was a computer programmer-analyst at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, and, after moving to D.C., she worked with a private consulting firm providing programming services under top-secret clearance to the U.S. Navy.
Ms. Darland set aside her professional career in 1972 to raise the Darlands’ three children — Eli, Nicole and Jed. She has always been interested in education and has served in a number of capacities in Bellevue’s PTAs, the Bellevue Schools Foundation and at various community services. Ms. Darland enjoys and supports the Seattle Opera, Seattle Symphony and the Pacific Science Center.
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