Brewster Denny Headshot

Brewster C. Denny

Evans School Founding Dean 1962-1980
Evans School Faculty 1962-2004

In 1962, Brewster Denny founded the University of Washington’s Graduate School of Public Affairs (now the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy & Governance), where he served as dean until 1980. As the first school of public administration at a public university, Denny was passionate that a career in public service be accessible to all. In the founding documents of the school, Denny identified the purpose for offering degrees in public administration: “To improve the quality of the conduct of the public’s business by the preparation of mature, aware, committed, and intellectually well-equipped men and women for public service at all levels of government” and “to break new ground in the study of critical problems of public policy.”

The great-grandson of Arthur and Mary Denny, founders of Seattle and the University of Washington, Denny’s commitment to public service was unwavering. Denny held numerous public service positions, including: Naval service in World War II and the Korean War; Intelligence Analyst at the Department of Defense; advisor during the national security transition between the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations; appointee to several presidential commissions and task forces; advisor to governors, mayors, and cabinet members; U.S. Delegate to the General Assembly of the United Nations; and advisor on science policy to the governments of Thailand, the Republic of Korea, the Philippines, and Jordan. Denny also served for decades as a trustee of The Century Foundation, a leading global policy think tank, and as a member of the Government Accountability Office Comptroller General’s Research and Education Advisory Panel.

Denny launched his impressive career after earning his bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington in 1945 and a master’s (1948) and doctorate (1959) from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and Harvard University.

Denny was a devoted husband and father. Throughout his life, Denny and his wife, Patricia, worked together on a wide variety of civic projects. He passed away in 2013 at age 88.  Patricia passed away in 2019 at the age of 93. They are survived by their only child, Maria Denny, a son-in-law, and two grandchildren.