Seattle's Hall of Fame: Education, Health Care and Research/Medicine/Science

From left: Ron Sims, Mary-Claire King, Estela Ortega, Pramila Jayapal, Norm Rice, Patricia Kuhl, Ed Lazowska, Jeff Brotman

Above: Photographed on September 6, 2016, on the 35th floor, in the Smith Tower Observatory, formerly the Chinese Room. Ed Lazowska, University of Washington Bill & Melinda Gates Chair in Computer Science & Engineering (second from right), sits in the “wishing chair,” one of the pieces of Chinese-themed furniture and decorative elements in the room. (Legend has it that those who sit in the chair and make a wish to be married will have the wish come true within a year.) For many years, the 1914 Smith Tower stood as the tallest building west of the Mississippi. Parts of the building recently underwent renovations. In August, public access was reestablished, with new daily tours, a mercantile-type general store on the ground floor and Prohibition-themed bar on the 35th floor observation deck level ( 


Stephanie and Matthew McCleary, parent activists: This Chimacum couple’s 2007 lawsuit determined that the state failed to meet its “paramount duty” to fully fund basic education, putting education funding front and center in Washington politics, where it remains unresolved.

Trish Millines Dziko, CEO, Technology Access Foundation (TAF): Early champion of diversity at Microsoft who founded TAF, a nonprofit that has provided technology-based programs for Greater Seattle’s students of color since 1996.

The Rev. Steve Sundborg, theologian, educator and Jesuit priest: When Sundborg took the helm of Seattle University, the institution was having an identity crisis. The 21st president allowed his spirituality to inform his educational philosophies as he raised SU’s national profile by placing a focus on social justice and community commitment to fulfill the Jesuit educational mission of service.

Health Care

Michael Copass, M.D., director, Medic One Paramedic Training Program: As the first director of Medic One, the legendary neurologist and University of Washington professor set the standard for emergency response systems worldwide and served as head of emergency services for Harborview Medical Center for nearly four decades.

Penny Simkin, childbirth educator: Known as the “mother of the doula movement” and a trailblazer in education and labor support; also the coauthor of Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn, which has sold more than a million copies.


Mary-Claire King, Ph.D., University of Washington geneticist: Identified breast cancer genes BRCA1 and BRCA2, leading to innovative treatments and methods of detection; last year, King was awarded the National Medal of Science by President Obama.

Patricia Kuhl, Ph.D., codirector of the UW Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences: Through her groundbreaking research in language and brain development, Kuhl showed how early language exposure alters the brain and determined that “parentese” (a natural way parents speak to babies) lays the foundation for infants to distinguish sounds and understand language. 

Leroy Hood, M.D., Ph.D., biologist, inventor and entrepreneur: Instrumental in mapping the human genome, Hood helped develop the DNA gene sequencer and cofounded Seattle’s Institute for Systems Biology, a biomedical research organization. 

Lucy Berliner, director of Harborview Center for Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress: A trailblazer in the field of child sexual abuse and in training clinicians to assess and treat young sexual assault victims, Berliner works with victims of trauma and crime, and researches the impact and effects of trauma. 

Lawrence Corey, M.D., physician-scientist: The past president of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center led studies in antivirals for the treatment of herpes, HIV and hepatitis, and helped develop the HIV drug AZT, a game changer in AIDS treatment. His current focus: an anti-HIV vaccine. 

In Memoriam
As we were compiling our Hall of Fame list, two influential individuals who were on it passed away. 

Bob Santos, civil rights activist: Founder of the movement to preserve Seattle’s Chinatown–International District, Santos raised multiracial awareness and served as a champion of affordable housing, small businesses and social services. As a member of the “Gang of Four”—sometimes also called “The Four Amigos” (which included Larry Gossett, the late Bernie Whitebear and Roberto Maestas)—he helped to found King County’s Minority Executive Directors Coalition and advocated for minority rights.

Joe Sutter, chief project engineer, Boeing 747: The Beacon Hill native managed an engineering team of thousands, nicknamed “The Incredibles,”  which was charged with giving ’60s-era travelers a bigger, faster passenger plane. Dubbed the “Father of the 747” by the Smithsonian, the 95-year-old was still consulting with the aerospace company a few months before he died.

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