Stan Barer, a UW Law alumnus and champion known for his deeply held belief that the power of law can advance justice, equity and human rights, died on Dec. 13, 2021. He was 82.

Determined to make his mark and leave the world a better place, Barer set his sights on the UW and a law degree. By 24, then a young attorney working for U.S. Senator Warren Magnuson, he helped draft what would become the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. Later in his career, his legal analysis was instrumental in reopening trans-Pacific trade between the U.S. and China after decades of hostility.

Barer built his legacy over his lengthy career, including serving as a UW Regent and establishing the Barer Institute for Law & Global Human Service with his late wife, Alta Barer.

“Stan and his late wife, Alta, have made a tremendous impact in our community and in the lives of in-need communities around the world through their generous philanthropy and advocacy,” said Mario L. Barnes, Toni Rembe Dean and professor of law.

“Together, Stan and Alta helped the law school live up to its ambition to create a positive impact globally, and in so doing, have greatly enriched the lives of the many lawyers who were able to study with us at UW,” Barnes said. “It has been such a tremendous honor to know and work with Stan.”

Alongside his world-changing professional work, he contributed decades of philanthropic service ­­— especially through support of the UW. He was recognized earlier this year with the 2021 Gates Volunteer Service Award, presented annually to individuals whose philanthropy and service have taken the UW to new heights. In addition to eight years as a UW Regent, Barer also was a member of the UW Foundation Board and held volunteer roles at UW Law, UW Medicine and the Burke Museum.


Learn more about Stan Barer’s life and legacy:

Barer is survived by his daughter, Leigh Barer, her husband, Jonathan Fitzgerald, four grandsons and numerous loved ones and friends. No public services are planned at this time. Condolences for the family may be sent to uwlawadv@uw.edu or by mail to UW Law Advancement, 4293 Memorial Way NE, Box 353020, Seattle, WA 98195-3020.

Here’s how the UW Law community is remembering Stan Barer:

“Stan and Alta Barer dedicated their lives to advancing the well-being of people within the United States and globally. They believed that prosperity should be shared by all. Stan’s legacy lives on in the dozens of Barer Institute alumni across the globe who are the living embodiments of Stan’s commitment to an equitable and just world,” said Anita Ramasastry, director of Sustainable International Development Graduate Program and Barer Institute for Law & Global Human Services, UW School of Law

“Stan’s generosity of spirit and commitment to justice have touched so many lives – from our UW community to the global community. He has empowered so many connected by the discipline of law to use it as a tool for good, whether in the highest office or the smallest village. We will miss you, Stan,” said Jennifer Lenga-Long, associate director of the Graduate Program in Sustainable International Development and affiliate instructor, UW School of Law

“Stan was a remarkable man and a tremendous supporter of UW Law. I'm grateful that Stan was recognized with the Gates Distinguished Volunteer Award at the 2021 UW Gala. I have warm memories of a wonderful reception at Stan and Alta's home in Sun Valley in July 2014. Stan and Alta touched many lives in the University, the legal profession, and the community. UW Law is a better place because of them,” said Mary Hotchkiss, teaching professor, UW School of Law

“Stan and Alta were vigorous and generous supporters of the University of Washington, as well as many other political, philanthropic and community organizations. There are many in our UW community who have been touched by the loyal and committed service that Stan and Alta provided us. I benefited directly from the welcome that Stan gave to me as a young volunteer at the law school and the years of his exemplary leadership. As Stan’s successor on the law school Advancement Committee, my success in that role was directly due to the enthusiastic participants that Stan had recruited and retained on that committee,” said Greg Gorder ‘85

“Stan has been a colleague, a friend, and a mentor for many years. He has had a tremendous impact on so many people around the world. Stan represented the best in the Jewish tradition of tikkun olam – repairing the world. He clearly left this world a much better place for his being here,” said Bobbe ’76 and Jon Bridge ‘76

“Stan’s influence in law, business and public policy in Washington and around the world was both broad and deep. It was an honor to create the Barer Fellows program with him and Alta; its impact in advancing law, justice and human services will be felt for generations. I already miss my friend more than I can describe,” said Kellye Testy, president and CEO of the Law School Admission Council

“We have lost one of the most accomplished, dedicated and visionary members of our alumni community. Stan’s achievements in law and business, and the breadth and imagination of The Barer Institute inspire us. He leaves a unique, lasting, legacy in the careers of students from all corners of the world who have benefited, and will continue to benefit, from such programs, and who will use their talents to improve the lives of many others,” said Lonnie Rosenwald, ‘94

“I met Stan Barer in 1970 in Washington DC when I was a 2L at UW Law and he was Chief Counsel to Senator Magnuson. From the time of that first meeting over fifty years ago, I have had the honor to know Stan as a role model, mentor, and friend. We worked together for decades as volunteers for UW Law and I followed in his footsteps serving our alma mater as Regents. His unyielding dedication to protecting human rights and promoting the rule of law at home and abroad will be lasting legacies for Stan and Alta,” said Joel Benoliel, ’71

“Through the Barer Fellowship, your footprints have left an indelible mark in the furthest corners of this world. You can rest easy knowing the seed you planted in each one of us shall bear fruits of selflessness, humanity and courage to always stand for what is right,” said Hon. Monica Munyendo, Barer Fellow ‘19, Kenya

“I am a living witness that his light permeates in corners of the world that he never visited. A representation of his dream, and evidence of its success. It is the only thing that he asked of us. To pass it on,” said Stella Wangechi, Barer Fellow ‘13, Kenya

“May we all find comfort in the great honor and regard which we all held him. He was and remains our hero, a philanthropist and advocate for human rights, social action, and empowerment. We have lost a true gem, a treasure of a person, advisor, mentor and inspiration. We’re devastated by Stan’s passing. A great advocate for human rights and a gentle giant who was always there for anyone. As Barer Fellows, scholars, and alumni, we owe Stan Barer a deep sense of gratitude for his immense and selfless contributions to our history and struggle for education, which will never be forgotten.  Words cannot convey the magnitude of the loss. May his soul rest in eternal peace. We will always remember Stan as a man who distinguished himself as an icon and a stalwart of the struggle for human rights, empowerment, social action, and the uplifting of the underprivileged,” said Dr. Charles Mutasa, Barer Fellow ‘13, Zimbabwe

“I am so sad to hear of the sudden departure of Stan Barer. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Stan Barer for providing me financial opportunity to accomplish my SID ( LLM) program from the UW. May his departed soul rest in peace. Lots of love for him,” said Prof. A.B.M. Asrafuzzaman, Barer Fellow ‘20, Bangladesh

“Stan Barer, your impact will be felt by many generations across continents. Your & Alta’s benevolence gave me one of the best opportunities and exposure in my life. Thank you for being a blessing to us in Africa and beyond. You empowered and changed my practice of human rights law. Adieu, Stan & Alta Barer, Rest in Power!  #StanBarerlives!,” said Adaobi N. Egboka, Barer Fellow ‘17, Nigeria

“Stan had the power to change people.  He changed me (and many others) in a way that profited not himself but the greater good,” said Benjamin Aritao Jr., Barer Fellow ‘13, Philippines

“The power of his example is an inspiration. It includes, among other things, the belief in the necessity of struggles for a more just world. I am proud to call myself a Barer Fellow! His memory will always be cherished,” said Jonida Dervishi, Barer Fellow ‘16, Albania

“Your sacrifices changed our lives as the Barer Fellows. Through our work across the globe, your legacy shall continue living on and your impact on the face of the earth shall continue growing. Shine on Stan,” said Francis Kairu, Barer Fellow ‘16, Kenya

“At the end of a conversation, in his usual calm manner Stan said, ‘See, you don't always have to have the right answers, or any answer at all ... but, you must always try to ask yourself the right questions. Alta and I are so glad that you're finding the program [useful/meaningful].’ I was so touched that he was so interested in my learning that he would, apparently, on a whim, take some time that was obviously meant for a separate appointment for that conversation. I'm grateful for his life and will continue to honor Stan's legacy and hope that there's a happy spirit reunion with Alta. Shine on your way, Stan,” said Lyna Sarapai, Barer Fellow ‘12, Kenya

“Stan's legacy will live forever. He was a source of constant support and inspiration for me. I am eternally grateful for his generosity and kindness! I am proud to be a Barer Fellow and I'm going to live up the values we are standing for together,” said Yuliia Kovalchuk, Barer Fellow ‘22, Ukraine

“In the hearts of people from many countries on different continents, his legacy will always be an inspiration. I will always remember such a generous and gentle person. May his soul be granted eternal peace. I am sure his presence will always be missed, but his memories never will be forgotten,” said Johanna Mora, Barer Fellow ‘21, Colombia

“What I know for sure is that Stan is an excellent example of a steward who has achieved great and indisputable good with the resources he has been blessed with. His legacy will truly live on in the accomplishments of every Barer Fellow whose lives have been touched by his benevolence, warmth, passion for humanity and championing the common good,” said Tameisha Udosen, Barer Fellow ‘18, Jamaica

“Acquiring a master’s degree was a distant dream for me. A female from rural Kenya with big dreams but no idea where to begin, had a chance at one of the best universities. My experience has changed me for the better. I appreciate the person I am today. My achievement has put me on a path to greatness. You have inspired me in many ways, one of which is to give something back to others when I am able to. The world is a better place with people like you, Stan. Asante Sana,” said Hon. Karen (“Kaz”) Mukhaye Njalale, Barer Fellow ‘20, Kenya

“Today, I sat to think about the tremendous impact Stan has had on individuals all over the world and I am truly inspired.  I am inspired by his passion for social justice, his generosity, empathy, kindness and his desire to make the world a better place. ‘...the best way that you can thank me is to go out there and make the world a better place...’ These words of wisdom from Stan will forever be engraved in my heart. I am so grateful for the opportunities that Stan created for people like me to better ourselves, equipping us to stir up change in our spaces. Your legacy will truly live on. Thank you so much Stan,” said Marjory Mwangi, Barer Fellow ‘18, Kenya