50th Anniversary

Celebrating 50 Years logo

School of Public Health 50th anniversary, 1970-2020

The University of Washington School of Public Health is proud to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

Opening in 1970, the UW SPH became the first school of public health west of the Mississippi and north of Berkeley, California.

Led by “founding father” J. Thomas Grayston, a medical doctor and epidemiologist, the school sought to focus on treating entire communities rather than individual patients. Emerging from the Department of Preventive Medicine and other programs, its original name was the UW School of Public Health and Community Medicine.

The school grew rapidly in the 1970s and ‘80s, becoming a research powerhouse and sought-after training ground. Today, it is home to five departments, more than 40 research centers and about five dozen degree and certificate programs. More than 10,000 alumni have gone on to work in Washington state and beyond, seeking equity-driven solutions to the greatest health challenges in our region and the world.

Our 250 faculty, 600-plus staff and 1,700 students are working together with communities and other partners to prepare for the next half century of public health challenges.


50 Changemakers

Recognizing alumni who are trailblazers, groundbreakers, influencers, educators and mentors. 

Faculty & Staff Impact

We are asking faculty and staff to describe their own achievements, as well as to nominate colleagues.

SPH History Timeline

A brief history of the UW School of Public Health

Department History

Learn how the departments formed and see milestones.

Deans of the School

In founding SPH in 1970, Emeritus Dean Dr. J. Thomas Grayston laid the foundation for half a century of leadership.

SPH History Videos

Founding members of UW SPH discuss the history of the school.

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