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Walker leaves philanthropic legacy at UW

Pioneer, adventurist, and 'Renaissance man' Doug Walker remembered

Story by
UW College of Arts & Sciences
January 2016
Doug and Maggie Walker

Doug Walker, with wife Maggie, at the 2009 University of Washington Annual Recognition Gala.

Doug Walker is variously described as a visionary, a force of nature, and a ‘Renaissance man in the U of W tradition.’

The co-founder of software company WRQ had to be all of these things to fulfill a philanthropic mission that has benefited countless University of Washington students and educators.

Doug died unexpectedly December 31 while snowshoeing and hiking with friends. He was 65.

Doug was an avid outdoorsman and trivia enthusiast, and his legacy of philanthropy and volunteerism reflects his many interests and passions. With his wife Maggie and daughter Kina, the Walker family created six endowments at the UW: the Walker Family Endowed Professor in Arts & Sciences, the Walker Endowment in Natural History (Biology), the Walker Family ARCS Fellowship in Computer Science or Mathematics, the Walker Family Endowment for the Reed Study Center (Henry Art Gallery), the Walker Family Professorship in History, and the Walker Family Professorship in Math. They have also supported UW departments and programs through generous annual gifts.

But Doug’s support for the University went far beyond gifts. He shared his expertise as well, serving on the College of the Environment Advisory Board, and the College of Arts & Sciences’ Department of History Visiting Committee and Department of Biology Advisory Board.

“As a passionate believer in the value of a broad-based liberal arts and sciences education, [Doug] was committed to the pursuit of knowledge in many fields and at all levels,” said Bob Stacey, Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. “Maggie and Doug have earned the admiration of so many of us in the College through their generosity and vision, not to mention their willingness to open their home for the occasional UW event.  The faculty and students have benefited not just from Doug’s personal benevolence but from his ability to inspire others to join him.”

Doug, Maggie and Kina are not just contributors to the University, they are contributors to the entire ecosystem within which the University lives and thrives.

Both Doug and Maggie have spoken about what inspires them to give. Asked at a 2010 luncheon why they are so generous, Doug explained that he liked being involved in the community and believed they had a responsibility to invest in the community. He said he hoped their giving would inspire others to give as well.

“Doug, Maggie and Kina are not just contributors to the University,” said Stacey, “they are contributors to the entire ecosystem within which the University lives and thrives.”

A celebration of life, open to friends and colleagues, will be held on Friday, January 29, 2016 at Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle. The event is scheduled from 5:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. with the program beginning at 6:00 p.m. and a reception to follow.  

Friends and admirers of Doug Walker can celebrate his legacy and continue his tradition of supporting the University of Washington by making a gift to the University in his honor. The family requests that gifts be made to the Walker Family Gift Fund in support of the College of Arts & Sciences and the College of the Environment. Click here to donate or visit www.washington.edu/giving/ and search for "Walker Family Gift Fund."