April 30, 2015

UW Architecture Alumni/ae in elective office

Studies at UW Architecture take alumni/ae into a range of careers – including several who have held elective office in Seattle and Washington and beyond.
Perhaps the farthest-flung: Alex Ekwueme (BArch 1956), “one of Nigeria’s leading statesmen” who served as his country’s first Vice President 1979-83. Following his graduation from UW with degrees in both architecture and urban planning, he worked as an architect with Leo A. Daly and Associates in Seattle before returning to Nigeria to undertake work in planning.
Maynard Taylor (1917-1992) Mayor of Anchorage, Alaska 1951-55. He later founded the community of Basher, Alaska, and served as Mayor of Basher 1959-72.
Closer to home, Alvin C. “Al” Williams (1930-2013) (BArch 1959): appointed to the Washington State House of Representatives in 1969 to represent the 32nd District, then elected to 3 terms in the House and 4 terms in the Senate.

In Washington cities:
* Ken Hays (BAED 1980), elected 2008 to Sequim City Council, Mayor 2010-13;
* Mark Nelson (BArch 1972), Medina City Councilmember and Mayor 2008;
* Cynthia Richardson (MArch 1978), originally elected to the Anacortes City Council in 2002, served until 2014;
* Carol Simpson (BAED 1973): first elected 2007 to Newcastle City Council, current term expires 2015;
* Peter Steinbrueck (MArch 1988): first appointed to the Seattle City Council in 1997 to fill an unfinished term, elected to full Council terms in 1999 and 2003 and served through 2007.

Over the years, alumni/ae have regularly accepted appointment to public boards and commissions related to community design and building issues, and in such roles help conduct and advance important architecture-related policy.

Jeffrey Ochsner points out that other CBE majors have succeeded in electoral politics. Among those currently active: Speaker of the Washington House of Representatives Frank Chopp, who originated the Gould Coffee Shop during his Urban Planning studies, & King County Executive Dow Constantine (MUP 1992).

As documented in my UW Architecture Centennial study of alumni/ae and faculty, architecture students apply their learning widely – in a range of design practices, in academia, and in a spectrum of other pursuits.

– Marga Rose Hancock 4/27/15