2000 Kathleen Woodward is named Director of the Center and joins UW as Professor of English.

1997 - The Center is endowed by a major gift from Barclay and Sharon Simpson and renamed the Walter Chapin Simpson Center for the Humanities in tribute to Barclay Simpson’s father.

1997 - The Center receives a competitive University Initiative Fund (UIF) for enhancement and expansion of its programs.

1987 - The Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences establishes the University of Washington Center for the Humanities with a mandate to support interdisciplinary activities. Formative leadership provided by Ron Moore(Philosophy) and Leroy Searle (English and Comparative Literature).

Major Gifts

The Simpson Center is grateful to all its supporters.

2009 - Donald Petersen gives a major gift to support the Digital Humanities Commons Endowed Fund.

2009 - A gift from Homer Bliss creates the Homer Bliss Endowed Fund in the Digital Humanities.

2008 - A gift from Herbert Blau in honor of his parents establishes the Joseph and Yetta Blau Endowment to support graduate student scholarship.

2004 - A gift from Barclay and Sharon Simpson supports a three-year Simpson Professorship in the Public Humanities, modeling a locally-invested alternative to sabbatical leave.

2003 - A bequest from Yasuko Endo creates the Robert Bolles and Yasuko Endo Endowment, which supports UW humanities graduate students.

2001 - A series of gifts (2001-2009) from Fredric Danz supports the Danz Courses in the Humanities: large-scale, team-taught interdisciplinary inquiry courses for pre-major undergraduates.

Major Grants and Contracts  

2015 – The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awards a grant to establish Reimagining the Humanities PhD and Reaching New Publics, a new program to take scholarship and teaching in the humanities to broader publics. 

2013 - $1.8 million Digital Humanities Challenge Grant with the National Endowment for the Humanities completed, establishing support for the Digital Humanities Summer Fellowship program.

2011 - The Center for Biological Futures at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center establishes a UW subcontract via the Center for Biological Futures in a Globalized World.

2009 - The National Endowment for the Humanities awards the Center a Digital Humanities Challenge Grant, launching the Center’s five-year fund-raising Campaign for the Digital Humanities Commons.

2006 - The Ford Foundation funds Engaging Southeast Asian Pluralism in Seattle (2006-2008).

2004 - Rockefeller Foundation funds the Project for Critical Asian Studies (2004-2008).


Affiliations with national and international organizations enlarge the Simpson Center’s scholarly networks. Their activities frequently inform and enrich our local initiatives. Some of these organizations include:


Be Boundless for Washington | For the World