We’re delighted to provide an update to this story of generosity and commitment to service. David Baker, Ph.D., has been appointed the inaugural holder of the Henrietta and Aubrey Davis Endowed Professorship in Biochemistry. Baker, the director of the Institute for Protein Design, is a pioneer in this new field, which aims to solve intractable 21st-century problems related to human health, energy and materials production.
Lumber and concrete, nails and paint — these are the materials used to construct a building, but what transforms architecture into a home? For Trisha Davis, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Biochemistry, it’s a sense of collegiality and collaboration, values that prompted her to establish the Henrietta and Aubrey Davis Endowed Professorship in Biochemistry. Named after her parents, the professorship will help recruit and retain faculty leaders.
“The department has been my home for 30 years, and it’s been a good home,” says Davis. “Creating the endowment seemed like the perfect way to honor my parents and support this special place.”
Davis’ parents met during the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration, and their lives were dedicated to public service. Her mother was an elementary school teacher and her father was a civic leader, instrumental in founding Group Health Cooperative and enhancing access for the disabled on the King County Metro bus system.
When Davis was a child, lively dinner discussions about public policy were commonplace. Curiosity about the world, whether investigating invertebrates on the beach at low tide or learning how to fix a vacuum cleaner, was central to life in her household.
Perhaps most importantly, Davis’ parents encouraged a can-do spirit and emphasized the value of teamwork. Davis and her siblings were integral to running the family business, Gaco Western, Inc., which provided protective coatings for roofs and decks.
“Even as a young kid, I pitched in. As I got older, I worked there every summer. We knew that together we could thrive,” says Davis. “And my family still works as a team — my brother and sisters contributed to the endowment, too.”
That sense of teamwork is also a defining aspect of UW Medicine, whose employees, including Davis, have given more than $5 million to Accelerate: The Campaign for UW Medicine. These contributors believe in making a difference; Davis does, too.
“I want this endowment to honor excellence, the faculty whose dedication and achievements really stand out,” says Davis.