The Mary Gates Endowment for Students was established by Bill and Melinda Gates in 1995 to honor the memory of Bill's mother, Mary Maxwell Gates (1929-1994). A leader who promoted voluntary service and philanthropy both locally and nationally, Mary Gates served as a UW Regent from 1975-1993.
Initially established with a $10 million gift and reinvested in 1999 with an additional $10 million, the Mary Gates Endowment for Students is one of the largest endowments at the University of Washington. Annual proceeds are dedicated exclusively to undergraduates.
The Mary Gates Endowment provides four kinds of scholarships that support and enrich undergraduate students' learning. Honors Scholarships support new UW undergraduates, identified and selected through the Honors Program application process, to fully engage in their studies and other personally enriching activities by funding two years of their tuition and book costs. Research Scholarships enable students from a wide range of disciplines to deepen their involvement in work with faculty on research, curricular design, the creative arts, and other forms of scholarly endeavor. Leadership Scholarships are designed to foster students' growth as leaders by supporting them to pursue a challenge or project, often focused on public service in the community or on campus. Venture Scholarships enable ambitious students to undertake imaginative and risky ventures of their own design.