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The School of Nursing remembers Advisory Board Member and philanthropist Jean Reid


Date: May 25, 2012
By: Ashley Wiggin, aaw4@uw.edu, 206-221-2456

Jean Reid and Board March 2012Jean Reid and Board March 2012Jean Ash Reid, School of Nursing Advisory Board member and local philanthropist, passed away on May 12, 2012. Jean, with her late husband Bob, was an extraordinary supporter of the School of Nursing, donating $5 million to endow scholarships for both undergraduate and graduate student nurses in 1999, and endowed the School of Nursing Deanship with a gift of $3.5 million in 2006.

At the time of the gift to endow nursing scholarships, Jean Reid stated that they were "impressed with the devotion nurses have to their profession," and said their gift was a tribute to the excellent nursing care each had received.  Jean and her husband served as honorary co-chairs on the School’s Advisory Board during the last fundraising campaign, and continued to serve the school as a board member in the years that followed. She also built deep and meaningful relationships with our former deans, Nancy Woods and Marla Salmon, both of whom were able to visit with her during her last days.

“I was privileged to have the gift of both the Reid deanship and Jean's friendship” said former dean Marla Salmon. “Jean had a rare combination of deep intellect, generous spirit, savvy business sense, and remarkable awareness of the value of caring.  Her connection with nursing was all about caring - and the belief that nurses do work that makes real differences in the lives of others.  Jean took a special interest in our school and was particularly invested in the wellbeing of our students.”

A graduate of the UW department of economics, Jean was an astute businesswoman who built a successful sand and gravel business with her husband, which she helped to run for nearly 30 years.  Both understood the importance of good leadership to any successful enterprise.  Jean explained that their goal in endowing the deanship, only the second at UW and the third nursing deanship in the country, was to pay tribute to Dean Nancy Woods, and to “ensure that both she and future deans of her caliber are well supported financially, so that they can take the school to even greater heights—including its contributions to solving global health crises."

“Jean Reid had witnessed the practice of nursing in some critical moments of her life,” said former dean Nancy Woods. “She watched a nurse practitioner diagnose her husband's cardiac problem in a small ER near the Oregon coast while they were vacationing at the ocean.  She had personal experiences with hospitalization in a major metropolitan area during which she noticed nurses often practicing in hospitals without adequate support for their work.  As a business owner, she was an astute analyst about root causes of problems.  I think that was the basis for her philanthropy to the School of Nursing.  She saw nursing education as an important solution to the problems facing health care in Washington state.”

“Jean was a wise and active member of the advisory board and will be missed by her colleagues and the school’s leadership,” said Interim Dean Pamela Mitchell, current holder of the Robert G. and Jean A. Reid Dean in Nursing. “Her legacy will live on through the generations of students supported by the Robert and Jean Reid Endowed Fund and through the ongoing support for the School’s continued excellence provided by the Robert G. and Jean A. Reid Endowed Deanship in Nursing.”

The School of Nursing honored Jean and Bob with the Outstanding Volunteer award in 2006, and the Peter Dyer Heart of Nursing Award in 2011. Bob Reid passed away in January 2011.

You can read Jean’s full obituary in the Seattle Times here.