The UW Board of Regents has approved a proposal to name the new UW Tacoma assembly hall after William W. Philip, thanks to a multi-million-dollar gift from James A. Milgard.
In a decision that will forever link the names of two of Pierce County's great business leaders, the University of Washington Board of Regents has approved a proposal to name the new UW Tacoma assembly hall after William W. Philip, thanks to a multi-million-dollar gift from James A. Milgard.
Milgard, of Gig Harbor, has pledged $2 million toward the building and requested that it be named William W. Philip Hall in honor of the retired chief executive officer of Columbia Bank. The Gary E. Milgard Family Foundation, which pledged $500,000 to the building, supported the request to name the building for Philip. A visionary community leader, Philip was one of the most important players in the founding of UW Tacoma and continues to support the university and the city. Construction on the hall is set to begin in August.
The gift is part of a $5 million personal pledge from Milgard to UW Tacoma this year. Combined with his previous giving, it establishes Milgard as one of the University of Washington's most influential individual donors, known as Presidential Laureates.
"Through his philanthropy, Jim Milgard has helped raise access to a quality university education for citizens of our region," said Melanie Dressel, Columbia Bank president and CEO. "Naming the assembly hall — which is at the heart of the university in the core of the city district — in honor of Bill Philip is very fitting recognition of Bill's vision for UWT's impact on Tacoma."
A groundbreaking ceremony for the hall will be held Tuesday, Aug. 28 at 11 a.m. on the UW Tacoma campus.
In 2003, Milgard, his late brother, Gary E. Milgard, and the Gary E. Milgard Family Foundation gave $15 million to establish the Milgard School of Business at UW Tacoma. The Milgards founded Milgard Manufacturing (now Milgard Windows and Doors), which grew from a small family-owned window company to become the largest producer of quality residential windows in the western United States. James Milgard was instrumental in the development and expansion of the business.
A dedicated supporter of social services and health care in Tacoma, Philip, of Lakewood, is known as one of the region's most influential leaders. He played a seminal role in getting the UW Tacoma campus established, sited and supported by the South Sound community. When UW officials were seeking a location for the campus, Philip encouraged them to consider downtown and helped arrange real estate options to keep land and building acquisition costs down. He has chaired or been the key volunteer for each of UW Tacoma's fundraising campaigns, and currently serves on the university's Capital Campaign Committee.
The University of Washington is in the final year of an eight-year, $2.5 billion capital campaign, called Campaign UW: Creating Futures. With Philip as one of its chief fundraising volunteers, UW Tacoma has raised $38.17 million, surpassing its final campaign goal of $35 million. The UW as a whole has raised nearly $2.25 billion. The campaign ends June 30, 2008.
"Bill Philip was one of the catalysts behind the success and growth of UW Tacoma," said Milgard. "He's very deserving of this recognition."
UW Tacoma Chancellor Patricia Spakes said the gift will help fulfill Philip's vision of a world-class university in Tacoma.
"Bill has very high standards and very high expectations for our stewardship of this institution, which he believes will be among the best in the nation," Spakes said. "And now his name will be high on this beautiful new building, reminding me of those expectations as I walk by every day."
The $12 million, 21,000-square-foot assembly hall at 1914 Pacific Ave. will serve as a center of civic and cultural life at UW Tacoma, hosting academic talks, banquets, student activities, conferences, community events and more. The building, designed by Thomas Hacker Architects, is scheduled to open in fall 2008.
The state has committed $7.5 million toward the cost of the building, and the university is seeking about $4 million in private donations to leverage the public investment. With Milgard's gift, UW Tacoma has raised $3.1 million toward this goal. The $3.1 million includes gifts from the Milgard Family Foundation, George F. Russell Jr., the Ben B. Cheney Foundation, the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation and others. Nearly $1 million in donations is still needed to complete the building. An additional $500,000 in revenue from retail and central university funds will make up the difference.
Milgard said he hopes others in the community will follow his lead and step up to help with the last gifts for the building.
"The job isn't done yet," he said, "but we're close."
Milgard's new status as a UW Presidential Laureate puts him and his wife, Carolyn, in a very select group that includes Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen and Seattle entrepreneurs Bruce and Jolene McCaw. Reserved for those individual donors who have given $10 million or more to the UW, the recognition holds more than formal meaning for Milgard. It's also personal, as his name will join that of his late brother Gary on the UW's roll of Presidential Laureates, displayed in Suzzallo Library on the UW Seattle campus.
"The fact that two of the university's 15 Presidential Laureates have significant ties to UW Tacoma is an amazing accomplishment for a campus so young," Spakes said. "Jim's generous gifts have always benefited the Milgard School of Business and its students, and this gift continues that tradition. The entire campus and the surrounding community benefit."
Joanne Bamford, chair of the UW Tacoma Advisory Board and member of the campus capital campaign committee, has been a board member of many nonprofits in the South Sound. She understands the role of business leaders, donors, and the challenges of fundraising in the South Sound.
"This is not just a gift to the campus, but to the whole community. Gifts of this size don't happen that often in Tacoma and Pierce County," she said. "For a school the size and age of UW Tacoma to attract such strong support, not only from Jim Milgard, but also from all the other supporters who have helped us surpass our campaign goals, is really a testament to how much this community values having a public university. I'm just thrilled for Bill Philip's sake and happy that Jim Milgard is continuing the Milgard family's support for UW Tacoma."
The Milgard brothers' $15 million gift to UW Tacoma in 2003 grew out of their desire to see the university grow its young business program into a full-fledged school of business, with strong leadership and support for scholarships. As part of their gift, they endowed a chair for the dean of the Milgard School and endowed Milgard Scholarships.
"I'm very pleased with the success and the progress of the Milgard School of Business and with how well (Dean) Shahrokh (Saudagaran) is doing there," James Milgard said. "That made it more compelling to add to the endowments at the school."
Ray Tennison, chair of the UW Tacoma Capital Campaign Committee and vice chair of the UW Tacoma Advisory Board, said Milgard's gift will affect the community as well as the university.
"I have seen the tremendous impact that gifts can have on a university, and how these acts can in turn benefit the entire community," he said. "This gift by Jim Milgard is phenomenal. It will help bring an important new building to the region and create a highly visual, permanent icon to an individual whose generosity of time, finances and leadership transformed the quality of life in this city."
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