UW Regents vote to rename its venerable School of International Studies in honor of the late U.S. Senator, Henry M. Jackson on September 16, 1983.

  • By Peter Blecha
  • Posted 4/27/2009
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 9001

On September 16, 1983, it is officially established that the University of Washington's prestigious School of International Studies (based in the campus's old Thomson Hall) is to be rededicated as the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies. This action by the UW's Board of Regents is made in acknowledgment of the senator's "distinguished career in foreign affairs, his commitment to international education, and his unflagging support of the School" (Heckler).

A Living Memorial

Henry Martin Jackson (1912-1983), a native son of Everett, Washington, had contributed more than four decades of his life to public service. Elected position Snohomish County prosecuting attorney in 1938, he moved up in 1940 to the first of six consecutive terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, before winning the first of six terms as U.S. Senator in 1952.

Soon after Jackson's sudden passing at the age of 71 on September 1, 1983 -- less than a year after winning his sixth senate race -- arrangements were made to transfer, as a donation, approximately 1,500 cartons of the senator's official papers to the UW Libraries manuscript collections (now UW Libraries Special Collections). On September 15, 1983, UW President William Gerberding (1929-2014) held a press conference to announce that he would be asking the Board of Regents to -- for the very first time in the university's history -- name a particular department in honor of an individual. One of the late senator's oldest friends, Stanley Golub, added that the School would be a "living memorial" to Jackson (The Seattle Times).


Sources: "UW to Receive Official Papers of Late Sen. Henry Jackson," The Seattle Times, September 15, 1983, p. D-5; "UW Is Ready to Name a School for Jackson," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, September 16, 1983, p. D-2; Felicia J. Hecker, "International Studies at the University of Washington: The First Ninety Years," Henry M. Jackson School website accessed on March 10, 2009 (http://jsis.washington.edu/jackson/history.shtml).
Note: This essay was corrected and updated on January 8, 2015.

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