William Gates Sr. will leave the University of Washington Board of Regents when his term expires at the end of this month. His seat will be filled by Jeremy Jaech, the co-founder of a high-tech company, WatchFrog, Gov. Christine Gregoire announced Thursday.
Gregoire, who appoints members of the board of regents, also reappointed Kristianne Blake to another term. Blake, the president of Kristianne Gates Blake PS, is Gates’ daughter and sister of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. She has been a regent since 2006.
On Thursday, in his office at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Gates said the problem of steep state funding cutbacks in higher education are “fundamental, significant and daunting,” and he did not know what solutions were at hand. The UW now receives about the same amount of state funding that it did in 1990.
But he said the UW has become a much better university over the years, doing cutting-edge work in both the classroom and the laboratory. “These good things, in my view, are significant contributions to the welfare of this state,” he said.
Gates has served on the UW regents board for 15 years, and the UW Law School building is named after him.
Jaech, the new regent, has been involved in running or co-founding Aldus Corporation, Visio Corporation and Trumba Corporation, and he’s been a vice president of the business tools division at Microsoft and a computer engineer at Boeing.
His latest venture, WatchFrog, uses technology developed at the UW and Georgia Tech to deliver sensors and web services to those at risk of home hazards, conditions and threats.
Both of Jaech’s degrees come from the UW; he earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1977, and a master’s in computer science in 1980. In 2009, he was named one of the top 25 innovators and entrepreneurs by Seattle Business Magazine. In 2006, he won the UW College of Engineering’s diamond award for entrepreneurial excellence.