Microsoft president commits $5M to campaign to restore UW’s historic ‘Boys in the Boat’ Shell House

A marketing campaign to revive the 104-year-old ASUW Shell Home on the College of Washington in Seattle is getting a lift towards its aim with a $5 million dedication from Microsoft President Brad Smith and his spouse, Kathy Surace-Smith, vice chairman at NanoString.

Microsoft Philanthropies has devoted an extra $2 million towards the college’s $18.5 million capital marketing campaign.

The construction on the Montlake Reduce was initially constructed by the U.S. Navy as a seaplane hangar in 1918 throughout World Struggle I. However the Shell Home’s greatest declare to fame could also be because the onetime dwelling to one of many UW’s most celebrated sports activities groups.

The 12,000-square-foot constructing served as dwelling to UW rowing for a number of many years and was the place famed shell builder George Pocock constructed boats together with the Husky Clipper, which carried its UW group to gold on the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. That victory is the topic of the acclaimed 2013 novel “The Boys within the Boat” by Daniel James Brown, which can even be an upcoming movie directed by George Clooney.

The ASUW Shell Home and crew groups in a historic picture. (College of Washington Picture)
The 1936 U.S. Olympic rowing group from the College of Washington. (College of Washington Picture)

The UW is seeking to restore the Shell Home as a studying and gathering area for college kids and the neighborhood, in response to marketing campaign particulars which name the constructing the college’s “beacon on the water.”

“College students will expertise an enhanced sense of place and a greater understanding of the distinctive magnificence, historical past and tradition that makes our campus distinctive on the earth,” the UW mentioned. “By internet hosting thematic pupil programming and programs rooted within the constructing’s innate themes of innovation, collaboration, management and resilience, we are going to additional encourage their studying and development.”

‘It’s a spot for the individuals who reside right here to satisfy and achieve nice issues the way in which the ‘Boys within the Boat’ did, and that’s what impressed us to step ahead’

Interactive timelines and displays will serve to ask the neighborhood to participate in that celebration of collective histories and accomplishments.

“This could possibly be a particular place the place guests from different states and nations can go to, be taught, and be moved by what occurred right here,” Smith mentioned. “However maybe most significantly, it’s a spot for the individuals who reside right here to satisfy and achieve nice issues the way in which the ‘Boys within the Boat’ did, and that’s what impressed us to step ahead.”

Surace-Smith mentioned that strolling into the Shell Home leaves one instantly struck by the historic nature of the constructing and the character of the tales which have occurred there. 

“We hope others see what we see, which is the large potential and worth of opening and restoring this iconic area for the neighborhood,” she mentioned.

ASUW within the constructing’s identify refers to Related College students on the College of Washington, which is the college’s pupil authorities on campus.

(College of Washington Picture)

Smith beforehand helped lead fundraising efforts for The Invoice & Melinda Gates Middle for Laptop Science & Engineering on the UW, which opened in 2019. That marketing campaign attracted contributions from notable tech titans and different present and former Seattle-area tech leaders.

On the time, Smith referred to as it a “great journey” that introduced collectively not solely mates of the college but additionally tech big rivals who have been investing in this system’s future.

“These unbelievable items are propelling our fundraising effort,” Denzil Suite, UW’s vice chairman for Pupil Life, mentioned of the Shell Home contributions from Smith, Surace-Smith and Microsoft. “However there’s loads of area left on this boat and our hope is that they encourage different leaders inside our area’s enterprise neighborhood to seize an oar and assist us attain our aim.”

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