I am sure that you have by now read about the passing of George B. Rathmann. He will be credited by the world’s press for his bio-tech success. In our region he will be known as the person behind ICOS.
What is less well known is the pivotal role that he played in the short history of the UWB School of Business. As some of you have heard me say over the years, it was thanks in part to his support that we have a graduate program. He was instrumental in having us design the original program – the MMGT (more on that later). He wanted his bench chemists to have a place that they could go to get management education. His support was critical at a time when there a feeling that UW Seattle might never agree to us getting into graduate education. His employees were some of our first students. In the early years, our undergraduates used to trade his stocks hoping to get rich quick!
We owe him a debt of gratitude. Here is a link to the story.
George B. Rathmann dies at 84; co-founder of biotech giant Amgen
chief executive of a small Seattle biotech firm, Icos Corp.
Postscript: Dr. Ken Walters the first Dean of the UW Bothell School of Business writes this to say:
George Rathmann was a visionary business leader who also was an unusually enthusiastic supporter of higher education and especially research universities. His energies on our behalf were open and enthusiastic, including lobbying and advocating for greater recognition of the link between Seattle's high-tech "knowledge-based" economy and a world-class research university.
George and his wife were guests in our home in Bellevue, where his keen mind was always strategizing on how the public and our public officials could develop a deeper appreciation of the role of research and education for our nation's future. He saw entrepreneurial business and first-rate science and technology as natural allies and mutually dependent on each other.
Rathmann never turned down an opportunity to lecture to students. Even when he did not have time, he made time. Whenever I would call, his secretary would tell me how busy he was, but that he would get back to me soon -- which he always did. And his lectures were substantive, cutting-edge, full of theory and examples, and even humorous.
He was an amazing resource for the nascent high-tech economy in our region, a gifted scientist equally at home in new product development in a large corporate culture and in the entrepreneurial environment.