TACOMA, WASH. — University of Washington Tacoma Chancellor Debra Friedman, a visionary leader dedicated to expanding access to higher education, died on Sunday, January 26, 2014. She was 58.
A memorial service open to all UW campuses and the community is planned for 2 p.m., February 15, 2014, to be held at William W. Philip Hall on the UW Tacoma campus. In the days prior to the service, tributes, mementos and photos can be viewed and left in the Snoqualmie Building Powerhouse, located in the center of campus, or online at tacoma.uw.edu/chancellor.
Chancellor Friedman’s overriding focus was on students. In honor of that legacy, the UW Foundation has established the Debra Friedman Memorial Scholarship Fund. Gifts to support student scholarships in her memory may be made online at tacoma.uw.edu/chancellor or by calling 253-692-4753.
In his message to the campus community, UW President Michael K. Young called Friedman “a true daughter of the University of Washington. She was a teacher, a scholar and a gifted administrator.” She received both her master’s degree and her PhD at UW, and was an administrator at the UW Seattle campus from 1994 to 2005.
On social media, the outpouring of messages of support in response to her death demonstrates the depth and breadth of the community relationships Friedman built for UW Tacoma.
Messages have been posted on Facebook and Twitter by people and organizations representing every facet of the South Sound and the UW community. Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s I Corps posted an appreciation of her work on behalf of Army veterans. Washington Sea Grant remembered her as an “adventurous beach walker.” Pacific Lutheran University President Thomas Krise praised her “unshakeable belief in the transformative power of education.” Peter Pentescu, president of the Associated Students of UW Tacoma, posted, “Debra Friedman was one of the most intelligent, dedicated people I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing. As long as we are dedicated to building an institution that is truly part of the urban community, she will be there, too.”