Robert G. and Patricia Q. Petersdorf Endowed Scholarship
This endowment was established in 2010 with a planned gift arranged by Robert G. Petersdorf, M.D., and Patricia Petersdorf. It was the donors’ wish to provide scholarship support to Native American students studying at the UW School of Medicine.
A graduate of Yale Medical School, Dr. Petersdorf came to UW Medicine in 1960 after holding faculty appointments at Yale and Johns Hopkins. An infectious diseases researcher, he served as chair of UW Medicine’s Department of Medicine from 1964–1979, as president of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and professor of medicine at Harvard from 1979–1981, as the head of University of California, San Diego’s School of Medicine from 1981–1986, and as the president of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) from 1986–1994.
At the AAMC, Dr. Petersdorf worked to increase the number of doctors pursuing primary care. In addition, he advocated for enrolling underrepresented minorities in medical school and limiting the demands of residency training.
Dr. Petersdorf was — as many UW Medicine alumni and faculty can attest — a tough and inspiring mentor. “Bob was a giant in medicine, known and revered worldwide for his profound commitment to and influence on the profession of medicine,” says Paul G. Ramsey, M.D., the CEO of UW Medicine.
Patricia Petersdorf was born in Greenfield, Mass., and she graduated from the University of New Hampshire and Yale School of Nursing. She served as a nurse at several prestigious institutions, including Johns Hopkins and Yale-New Haven Hospital. After moving to Seattle in 1958 with her husband, she devoted her time to raising her family. She also had a critical role serving as a faculty spouse during her husband’s role as a professor at the University of Washington, Harvard University and the University of California, San Diego.
Like most “adopted” Northwesterners, Patricia loved the outdoors, including hiking, horseback riding and exploring the world.
Dr. Petersdorf died in September 2006, at the age of 80. Patricia Petersdorf died in May 2010, at the age of 83.