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A sweeping legacy

Paul Allen’s impact extends across the UW, especially in the College of Arts and Sciences

October 2018

The College of Arts and Sciences mourns the loss of Paul G. Allen, a long-time friend of the UW, innovator and philanthropist. UW President Ana Mari Cauce called Mr. Allen a “man of extraordinary vision, leadership and generosity whose impact on our world is profound.”

Paul Allen, portrait

Mr. Allen’s impact on the College of Arts and Sciences is far-reaching. True to Allen’s reputation as a “Renaissance man,” his generosity supports a wide range of departments and programs across the College, including in art, music and science. 

Allen’s love of art and culture is recognized in the School of Music’s Allen Fund for American Pop Music and the Henry Art Gallery’s Faye G. Allen Center for the Visual Arts, named in honor of Mr. Allen’s mother.

“We are deeply grateful for the visionary support of Paul Allen to the Henry and to the arts in our community,” said Sylvia Wolf, director of the Henry Art Gallery. “The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation was a generous contributor to our expansion in 1997, and in subsequent years supported our exhibitions and programs which allowed us to present artists' work that would not otherwise have been seen in the Pacific Northwest.”

Mr. Allen had a transformative impact in the study of the life sciences at UW, investing in boundary-pushing research and teaching efforts in the Department of Biology. From wildlife conservation to innovative plant biology, Allen’s support has been wide-spread and anchored in curiosity and impact. He was also an early partner in supporting the first design concepts of the new Life Sciences Building, which opened this fall. 

“In no small way, Paul was the spark that drove this for our region and for our country,” said biology professor Thomas Daniel. “He was deeply interested in unlocking the mysteries of wildly complex processes, pressing us to address the ‘unsolved mysteries’ in biology.” 

Mr. Allen’s generosity also supports interdisciplinary work in bioengineering through the study of cell systems, as well as research in global health.  

“It is comforting to know that what Paul started will live on in perpetuity through the myriad research and discovery enterprises he has fostered over the decades,” said Daniel. “He never shied away from pushing us to think big.”