Hunter and Dorothy Simpson Endowed Chair in Bioengineering
The Hunter and Dorothy Simpson Endowed Chair in Bioengineering was created to support the chair of the Department of Engineering. The endowment was created with gifts from the Washington Research Foundation (WRF), and friends and colleagues to honor William H. (Hunter) Simpson and Dorothy L. (Dottie) Simpson, two tireless volunteers whose many efforts have enriched countless lives and programs at the University of Washington, especially the fields of science and technology.
College for Mr. Simpson was interrupted by WWII. At age 17 ½, he enlisted in the Marine Corps and began active duty after attending one quarter at the University of Washington. Initially trained to operate landing barges, he later became part of the V-12 program and was sent to UC Berkeley.
When Mr. Simpson was released from service in 1945, he returned to the University of Washington, where he completed his bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1949. Immediately following graduation, he went to work for IBM. In 1961, after many promotions and moves across the country, Mr. Simpson was promoted to Northwest district manager for IBM. Mr. Simpson was a loyal IBM (“Big Blue”) man. But the next big promotion would have taken him back to Armonk, New York, and he and his wife, Dottie, wanted to raise their family in Seattle.
From 1966 to 1986, he was president and CEO of Physio-Control Corporation, a manufacturer of medical electronic equipment which dramatically changed the face of emergency medical care with the introduction of the first portable, battery-powered defibrillator/monitor, designed by Dr. William K. Edmark.
Mr. Simpson was an influential University of Washington Regent from 1987–1993 and was a founding director of the UW Foundation (1990–1992). He and Dottie Simpson made significant volunteer contributions to UW Medicine and Intercollegiate Athletics, among other areas. Mr. Simpson passed away in 2006.
Dorothy L. (Dottie) Simpson, a Duke University alumna and recipient of that university’s Distinguished Alumni Award, received her MBA from the University of Washington in 1982. She has been an equally devoted volunteer with respect to supporting University of Washington students and faculty in science and technology fields. Her commitment to these fields has been particularly evident through her association with the Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Foundation. Mrs. Simpson is past president of the national ARCS Foundation, which is the University’s single most significant donor of graduate fellowship funding to date.
In recognition of their half-century of volunteer service to the University of Washington, the Simpsons were awarded the prestigious (and inaugural) Gates Volunteer Service Award in September 2002. Named in recognition of the inspiring leadership and philanthropic legacy of the William Gates family, the award is presented annually to the volunteer(s) whose involvement has most advanced the UW and heightened public awareness of the University’s achievements.
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