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WSU remembers Paul Allen as friend, ‘legendary donor’

Washington State University remembers Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft and a philanthropist and community builder. The Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health at WSU bears his name.
Matthew Weaver

Capital Press

Published on October 16, 2018 9:48AM

Last changed on October 16, 2018 8:30PM

Washington State University officials and Paul Allen, center, celebrated the ribbon cutting of the Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health in 2012.  From left are Scott Carson, then-chair of the WSU Board of Regents; President Elson Floyd; Paul Allen; Amy Carter of the Gates Foundation; and Guy Palmer, founding director of the school.

Washington State University

Washington State University officials and Paul Allen, center, celebrated the ribbon cutting of the Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health in 2012. From left are Scott Carson, then-chair of the WSU Board of Regents; President Elson Floyd; Paul Allen; Amy Carter of the Gates Foundation; and Guy Palmer, founding director of the school.

In this Sept. 17, 2017 photo, Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen waves as he is honored for his 20 years of team ownership before an NFL football game in Seattle. Allen, who co-founded Microsoft with his childhood friend Bill Gates before becoming a billionaire philanthropist who invested in animal health research, conservation, space travel, arts and culture and professional sports, died Monday. He was 65.

Associated Press File

In this Sept. 17, 2017 photo, Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen waves as he is honored for his 20 years of team ownership before an NFL football game in Seattle. Allen, who co-founded Microsoft with his childhood friend Bill Gates before becoming a billionaire philanthropist who invested in animal health research, conservation, space travel, arts and culture and professional sports, died Monday. He was 65.

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Guy Palmer, regents professor of pathology and infectious diseases and senior director of the Paul G. Allen Center for Global Animal Health, talks about the center, which is on the Washington State University campus in Pullman, Wash.

Matthew Weaver/Capital Press File

Guy Palmer, regents professor of pathology and infectious diseases and senior director of the Paul G. Allen Center for Global Animal Health, talks about the center, which is on the Washington State University campus in Pullman, Wash.

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Washington State University’s leaders remember Paul G. Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft, philanthrophist and community builder, for his contributions to the university and to improving human health worldwide.

Allen died Oct. 15 of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He was 65.

In 2010, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation donated $26 million to help create the Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health at WSU. The Allen School is unique among other global health programs because it focuses on the health of animals as a way to improve the health of people and the environment.

Guy Palmer, founding director of the Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health and now senior director of global animal health for WSU, presented the concept to Allen in 2010. The project combined three areas of interest for Allen — his connection to the university, his passion for science and his connection to communities in eastern and southern Africa, Palmer told the Capital Press.

“It was a coming together of those three things in a fairly unique way that would be very difficult to replicate,” Palmer said.

The school would provide updates regularly of their activities to Allen and his staff.

“It’s not like he wrote a check and then walked away from it,” Palmer said. “He really remained very interested in the progress of it.”

For example, the school examined what happens when rural livestock owners incorporated vaccines into their animals’ production. They produced more milk, Palmer said, but the household income from the higher productivity translated directly into increased expenditures for girls’ education.

“He just loved that,” Palmer said of Allen. “This was the resource those individuals had and how they translated that into these broader societal gains was what really interested him.”

WSU and Allen were working on develop Rabies Free Africa, a program to eliminate human deaths due to rabies on the continent in 12 years. About 30,000 deaths each year are due to rabies. Half of the victims are children, Palmer said, calling the deaths “completely preventable.”

The program includes vaccinating dogs and providing medical access to victims.

“Paul Allen was a man of great compassion and vision,” WSU President Kirk Schulz said in a press release. “He understood the power of philanthropy to improve the human condition in this country and around the world.”

“We are extremely saddened to hear of the loss of our friend and legendary donor to Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, Paul Allen,” said Bryan Slinker, dean of WSU’s veterinary college, in the press release. “We extend our greatest sympathies to his family and friends both here and abroad.”

Some people might see the school being named after Allen through an “egotistical” lens, Palmer said, but nothing could be further from the truth. The university can recruit more faculty because of Allen’s name on the school, he said.

“It also carries his name forward, and we’re delighted that that will happen,” he said.





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