Stories of Impact

Philanthropy in action

At UW Bothell, we are enormously grateful to all of the donors and volunteers who make our work possible. Below, we have highlighted just a few of the many amazing stories from our donors. It's incredible knowing that these are the kinds of spectacular people giving to our school, and supporting our students.

Legacy Gift Provides Support for Struggling Students

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 11 people die from a drug overdose every hour. That’s 264 deaths each day — 95,040 each year. But these aren’t merely numbers or statistics. These are people’s friends, spouses and relatives. 

And in 2015, one of these people was Mary Hammons and Conrad Brown’s only child, Jessica. 

Jessica had just gotten married to her long-time boyfriend and graduated from the University of Washington Bothell with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Whip smart, she frequently earned a 4.0 GPA in her classes and quickly landed her dream nursing job. 

On paper, everything appeared to be going well which is why the news of her — and her husband’s — accidental overdose was so shocking for Hammons and Brown. “The two most important people in our lives died in one night. Our daughter and our daughter’s husband,” said Brown, Jessica’s stepfather. “We woke up on Saturday morning and they were gone. It felt like the floor just fell out from underneath us.” 

Hammons and Brown always pictured their legacy being carried on by Jessica and their grandchildren, but her death left them with no living heirs. “We always thought Jessica might want to move into our house one day, that she would be the one to decide what to do with all of our things,” Hammons said. “Now that she’s gone, we had to make all of those decisions ourselves. 

“But one thing we decided early on was that we didn’t want Jessica to be remembered as just another overdose.” 

To honor her memory, Hammons and Brown established an endowed scholarship in 2019 for UW Bothell’s School of Nursing & Health Studies in their daughter’s name. “I was so proud Jessica had just graduated as a nurse, as we all know nurses are heroes,” Hammons said. “I am a social worker and Conrad worked in health care and I was so glad she went into the field.  

“This scholarship is a celebration of that — and it will also give us ‘gazillions of grandchildren.’” 

The scholarship is intended to help students who are struggling financially, as Hammons herself was a struggling single mother when she pulled herself through college and graduate school in the 1980s. 

“I raised Jessica myself before I met Conrad when she was 10 years old,” Hammons said. “There were times when I had to decide whether to pay rent or afford to eat. I can’t tell you how poor we were. 

“Whenever we wanted a treat, we would go down to the local Pizza Hut,” she recalled. “I still remember the personal pan pizzas were $1.75, and we would split it. That was our big ‘splurge,’” she laughed, “but we loved it and we had a good time.” 

She hopes that this scholarship will give other people more good memories, like the trips she had to Pizza Hut with her daughter. 

“I don’t want it to just go to tuition,” she said. “I hope it helps pay a utility bill, puts gas in someone’s car or gives someone their own personal pan pizza when they need it.” 

Read more about the support Hammons and Brown provides to students who are struggling financially.

The Honor of Giving Back

Humble and soft-spoken, Tony Guerrero would balk to hear his life story described as one of triumph, perseverance and generosity. But for the UW Bothell community inspired by his two-decade journey to earn his degree and by his long-time support for scholarships, that description fits him to a tee.

Growing up the oldest of six kids in a blue-collar Phoenix family, college was never on the horizon for Tony. He began a vocational heating and air conditioning track in high school, where he met his future wife, Lisa. He joined the Air Force Reserve and, after seeing older construction workers struggling in the blistering Arizona heat, wisely considered his long-term future and found indoor employment at a state-owned events venue.

Motivated by his mother’s drive to earn a degree and become an elementary school teacher while all her kids were still at home — and by his wife’s nighttime college studies while working full time — Tony enrolled in night classes, too.

In 1984, a beloved mentor at his job in Phoenix took a new role at Seattle’s Kingdome and encouraged Tony to join him. Tony moved his family up to the Northwest, kept taking classes at community colleges and eventually enrolled at UW Bothell’s original office park campus. By then, twins Joseph and Mario had joined the family.

The Guerreros returned to Arizona for a few years — again delaying Tony’s degree. Tony was hired by theTony-and-Lisa-Guerrero.jpg University of Washington in 2000 to help manage maintenance on the mammoth Seattle campus and once again he enrolled at UW Bothell, which had moved to its current location.

“There was still such a wonderful family feel at UW Bothell,” Tony recalls, fondly remembering when a favorite professor and fellow students came to his rescue with a new textbook and loaned class notes after his were stolen in a car break-in. When he took his last test in 2001, Lisa and the boys greeted him with balloons and cheers.

Today, the proud alumnus holds not only that hard-fought BA in business but also an MBA from Seattle Pacific University. He has worked at UW Bothell since 2003 and now serves as Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities Services and Campus Operations. He and Lisa were among the earliest donors to UW Bothell’s first scholarship fund, and their gifts have supported hundreds of students for well over a decade. “I see so many students here today who are far less fortunate than I was,” Tony says.

“I know that when I donate, I’m investing in someone else’s chance to grow and contribute and give back one day. It’s an honor.”

Supporting student Access and Opportunity 

Both within a few months of turning 80, Connie Niva and Jud Marquardt have left a powerful imprint on the communities in Snohomish and King counties they call home. This includes UW Bothell, which they have supported for many years and which now figures prominently in their estate plans.

When deciding where and how to give back, says Jud, people often “seek out an established connection — from their own or their children’s history — but it’s not required.” Neither he nor Connie attended the University of Washington. Only one of their combined six children did. But both saw an untapped opportunity in the young UW Bothell campus.

“When you look at Everett and Snohomish County, there were so many students, but they had been shortchanged,” says Connie, noting there was no easily accessible UW campus in the area before UW Bothell was founded. “Now, they make up a significant proportion of UW Bothell students, which provides needed engineers for Boeing, nurses for the region’s hospitals, and teachers and principals for local schools.”

Connie, who was a co-founder of the Center for Women in Democracy in Seattle, says she feels personally connected to the school’s commitment to educating women, especially in fields where they remain underrepresented. “You don’t have to go back that far,” she says, “to see that there were not many opportunities for us.”

From the very beginning, Connie says, UW Bothell was intentional about attracting students who were financially disadvantaged or the first in their immediate families to earn a four-year degree — students who have incredible drive and important dreams to realize.

As a first-generation college student, this resonates with Jud.

It’s all about putting the students first, he says. “You can see this with class size and teacher–student ratios. While these are easier to do as a young educational institution, even as it grows the Bothell campus consistently sets itself apart in this respect and is doing more than ever for the students.”Connie-Niva-and-Jud-Marquardt.jpg

Beyond their own personal contributions, Connie and Jud take a community view of philanthropy and believe in the collective power of giving. “It’s about creating a group force for change. You need bodies, and there’s nothing better than people working together to support students,” says Jud.

“A hallmark of UW Bothell is to honor all contributions,” he adds. “No gift is too small, and when you look at the board and alumni contributions, this is verifiable enthusiasm for the institution. It shows that everyone is in the game — including faculty and staff — and that’s powerful!”

Adds Connie: “Helping students thrive and live their dreams is the best investment in the future of our community and the school. We put UW Bothell in our estate plan,” she says, “and we want others to stay in the game with us.”

Read more about the Legacy Award recipients, Jud Marquardt and Connie Niva.

Leading by Example to Put Students First

From advancing national policies to support people with disabilities, to educating tomorrow’s nurses about issues in community health, Mo West has carved a career from her passions. Now, the University of Washington Bothell lecturer is paying forward her good fortune by establishing a scholarship to honor a mentor who nurtured her dreams.

Mo founded the David G. Allen Student Scholarship Endowment with a $10,000 investment to recognize the powerful influence that the past dean of the UW Bothell School of Nursing and Health Studies has had on her life’s work. The scholarships will benefit registered nurses pursuing their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees.

Mo West

“I couldn’t have found a better professional path than to get my doctorate and go on to teach. I see how David’s investment in me paid off,” explains Mo, whose PhD. dissertation at UW Seattle was guided by Dean Allen. “There are so many other people with passions like mine who need financial help to follow that path. Establishing a scholarship for them while honoring David is a symbol of my gratitude and a way to continue his legacy.”

After working in the U.S. Senate for eight years to advance federal disability policies, Mo’s move into higher education opened new possibilities to help others. Today, she teaches students how to form critical community partnerships that lead to better health — like the work Mo and her classes are doing with domestic violence survivors in YWCA shelters across the region.

“UW Bothell is all about putting students first. I want to walk the talk through both my teaching as well as financially to pay back all the gifts I’ve been given,” Mo explains. “I hope other staff members will follow my lead and give back to the students we are so privileged to teach.”

Alumni Couple Keeps Giving Back

Hillary and Peter, at graduation holding their diplomas.

If you ask Hillary and Peter to name their favorite place on the UW Bothell campus, the answer would come easy, The Writing and Communication Center. This is not only where they spent hours as student workers helping other students with their papers, but this is also the place where they met. Bonding over their love of writing, they began emailing each other back and forth, each alternating writing chapters of a story. This story would lead to an even bigger one- their love story.  

Peter graduated in ‘08 with a BA in Society Ethics and Human Behavior and an MA in Cultural Studies in 2011. Hillary graduated with a BA in Culture, Literature and Art in 2010. During their time here, they were very involved with their work at the writing and communication center, classes, and campus activities. Their work with students and the connections they made with these students, staff and faculty still resonate in their lives today.           

They are true believers in the power of scholarships making a difference in students' lives, and are dedicated supporters of UW Bothell. They also stay connected and give back to students and the campus by taking opportunities to speak to different classes, participating in campus events, and Hillary serves as the Marketing and Membership Chair on the UW Bothell Alumni Council. 

“Peter and I are very passionate about UW Bothell as it’s where our love story began. It will always hold a special place in our lives because of that, and because of all the wonderful connections we made there. UW Bothell changed our lives, and is something we will forever be connected to,” Hillary says. 

Supporting UW Bothell is an Incredible Investment in the Future

When I started working for UW Bothell's Education Program in 1997, the larger community hardly knew we were here. That changed fast! As a start-up campus, we had to be nimble in shaping our programs to both inspire students and meet community and statewide needs.

It was exciting to be part of that creativity and push to bring students to a growing UW Bothell. As a department advisor, I constantly connected with school districts, community colleges, career changers and students hoping to complete their degrees or credentials and to become teachers.

As I was getting ready to retire in 2014, I knew I wanted to continue to make a difference. Supporting The Campaign for UW Bothell by establishing a scholarship endowment for the School of Educational Studies was the perfect way to do that.

Amelia Bowers head shotWith the support of my husband, Christopher, and my son, Logan, we created the Amelia M. Bowers Family Post Baccalaureate K-8 Certification Endowed Scholarship, which provides scholarships in perpetuity for people who want to earn their teaching certifications. I saw hundreds of teacher candidates and/or career changers with crippling student loan debt, so it’s wonderful for our family and friends to help them reach their career goals. Supporting UW Bothell is an incredible investment in the future.

Amelia (Mimi) Bowers