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Gregoire Appoints New University of Washington Regents

Press Release

Location: Olympia, WA

Gov. Chris Gregoire today announced she has appointed Bill Ayer and Pat Shanahan, and reappointed Herb Simon to the University of Washington Board of Regents.

"I couldn't be happier that these incredibly talented individuals have agreed to help lead one of the country's finest universities," Gregoire said. "The UW is consistently ranked one of the top-research universities in the world, and I have every intention of keeping it that way. In these tough economic times, there are no doubt challenges to maintaining that reputation. I look forward to working with these regents and developing new innovative ideas to ensure we continue to have a world-class higher education system, and that all Washingtonians have access to it."

Ayer earned a master's degree in business administration from the UW before becoming chairman and chief executive officer of Alaska Airlines and Alaska Air Group in 2002, where he leads the nation's seventh largest airline with nearly 13,000 employees. Ayer is chairman of the Puget Energy board and a director of the Museum of Flight and Angel Flight West. He also serves on the UW Business School Advisory Board.

"I'm greatly honored that Governor Gregoire has asked me to serve on the Board of Regents," Ayer said. "Through my involvement at the Foster School of Business, I've seen firsthand many of the university's extraordinary accomplishments. I look forward to contributing to the UW's highly talented board to address current challenges and pursue opportunities that will continue to strengthen this world-class institution."

Before becoming vice president and general manager for Airplane Programs at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Shanahan earned a bachelor's of science degree in mechanical engineering from the UW. Shanahan joined Boeing in 1986, moving quickly up the ranks as VP-GM for Missile Defense Systems and Rotocraft Systems with the company's defense branch, to leading the design, assembly, delivery and support for Boeing's 737, 747, 767, 777 and 787 airplanes.

"It's a privilege to serve such a prestigious and vital global institution," Shanahan said. "A strong higher education system is critical to our region's technology and innovation leadership as well as that of the United States. I look forward to supporting the University in its continuing quest for excellence."

Gregoire first appointed Simon to the board of regents in 2006. A 1964 graduate of UW and a prominent Tacoma business leader, Simon served as secretary/treasurer of Joseph Simon & Sons Inc., before opening what is now Simon Johnson LLC, an investment company focusing on real estate and venture capital projects. Simon is a former chairman of the Executive Council for a Greater Tacoma.

"I am most honored that the Governor re-appointed me to the University of Washington Board of Regents," Simon said. "I look forward to working on many of the challenges facing all of higher education. To be able to help students of Washington State achieve their dream of a higher education degree is a personal and most heartfelt passion of mine."

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