#27 Overall Influence #69 Desirability Rank

University of Washington

Public research university in Seattle, Washington, United States
By James Barham, PhD

In the 1850s, the Governor of Washington Territory and some of his Seattle-based friends and business associates, including a prominent Methodist minister, put their heads together to figure out a way to advance two causes close to their hearts: the prospect of statehood for the territory and the economic welfare of the city of Seattle.

At first, the Seattle city fathers argued in favor of moving the territorial capital from Olympia to their own city. However, a better plan was eventually decided upon: they would build a university in Seattle. The idea was that an institution of higher education would function both as evidence of Washington Territory’s readiness for statehood and as a stimulus to Seattle’s economic development.

This explains why the Territorial University of Washington, occupying a valuable plot of land in downtown Seattle, opened its doors in 1861—long before statehood was finally achieved in 1889.

After the latter date, both the new State of Washington and the City of Seattle began to grow rapidly. It was soon found that the needs of the students and faculty of the former territorial university—now called simply the University of Washington (UW)—had outgrown the school’s original downtown campus, where there was little room for expansion. Accordingly, in 1895 UW was moved to a more spacious location in the Union Bay neighborhood of what is now Northeast Seattle.

Today, UW—together with its two additional campuses in Bothell and Tacoma (north and south of Seattle, respectively)—boasts some 56,000 students, and a nearly $3 billion endowment. Such numbers have enabled UW to build a faculty and offer a curriculum that are second-to-none among state university systems in the US.

Seven UW-affiliated persons have won the Nobel Prize, including:

  • Hans Georg Dehmelt & David Thouless—physics
  • Edmond Fischer, Leland Hartwell, & Linda Buck—physiology or medicine

Among other notable UW-connected folks, we may mention:

  • Pioneering photographer, Imogen Cunningham
  • Television journalist, Chet Huntley
  • Actors Jim Caviezel, Dyan Cannon & Kyle MacLachlan
  • Martial arts adept, film actor, and director, Bruce Lee
  • Painter and photographer, Chuck Close
  • Glass artist, Dale Chihuly
  • Architect, Minoru Yamasaki
  • Novelist and essayist, Marilynne Robinson

From Wikipedia

The University of Washington is a public research university in Seattle, Washington. Founded in 1861, Washington is one of the oldest universities on the West Coast; it was established in Seattle approximately a decade after the city's founding to aid its economic development. Today, the university's 703 acre main Seattle campus is in the University District, Puget Sound region of the Pacific Northwest. The university also has campuses in Tacoma and Bothell. Overall, UW encompasses over 500 buildings and over 20 million gross square footage of space, including one of the largest library systems in the world with more than 26 university libraries, as well as the UW Tower, lecture halls, art centers, museums, laboratories, stadiums, and conference centers. The university offers degrees through 140 departments in various colleges and schools, and functions on a quarter system.

Source: Wikipedia


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How much does it cost to attend?

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What's it like to attend this school?

The People

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The Campus

Where will you be attending?


1400 NE Campus Parkway, Seattle WA 98195-4550

What is University of Washington known for?

Our answer to this is to show you the disciplines in which a school's faculty and alumni have had the highest historical influence. A school may be influential in a discipline even if they do not offer degrees in that area. We've organized two lists to show where they are influential and offer corresponding degrees, and where they are influential through scholarship although they don't offer degrees in the disciplines.

Top areas of influence with degrees offered

#16 World Rank
#17 World Rank
Computer Science
#19 World Rank
#38 World Rank
#24 World Rank
#23 World Rank
#37 World Rank
#26 World Rank
#41 World Rank
#30 World Rank
Political Science
#77 World Rank
#37 World Rank
#32 World Rank
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#38 World Rank
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#29 World Rank
#25 World Rank
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Earth Sciences
#163 World Rank
Religious Studies
#33 World Rank
Criminal Justice
#14 World Rank
Social Work
#19 World Rank

Influential People

Who are University of Washington's Most influential alumni?

University of Washington 's most influential alumni faculty include professors and professionals in the fields of Social Work, Biology, and Computer Science

Donald Bren

American businessman

Shoshichi Kobayashi

Shoshichi Kobayashi

Japanese mathematician

Eric Charnov

American ecologist

Arthur Kellermann

American physician

Chet Huntley

Chet Huntley

American broadcaster

Ole Ivar Lovaas

Norwegian-American psychologist

Robin DiAngelo

Robin DiAngelo

American academic

Richard White

American historian

Mark Emmert

Mark Emmert

5th president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association

Donald Petersen

Donald Petersen

American businessman

Mark Pagel


Peter Adkison

Peter Adkison

American businessman