posted Aug 07, 2017

In memoriam: Jeff Brotman ’67

A Double Dawg, Brotman earned an undergraduate degree in political science and a JD from UW School of Law, and later served two terms as a University of Washington Regent.

“With the passing of Jeff Brotman the University of Washington has lost one of its greatest volunteers and most accomplished and generous graduates,” UW President Ana Mari Cauce said in a statement. “His and Susan’s principled and passionate leadership, coupled with their generosity — particularly in support of students and of advancements in medicine — have left a lasting impact on our University and all those we serve.

After graduation, Brotman briefly practiced law and joined the family retail clothing business headed by his father, Bernard “Bernie” Brotman. Inspired by his father’s suggestion to start a warehouse store, Brotman co-founded Costco with Jim Sinegal in 1983, and the company merged with Price Club that same year. Costco now operates 736 warehouses around the world.

Brotman brought his entrepreneurial spirit to his service at the UW and was actively involved in supporting UW Law. Brotman and his wife Susan received the University of Washington Recognition Award for their service to the University and to the community. He was a member of the law school’s Condon Society and supported numerous professorships and scholarships in the school.

As holder and beneficiary of the Jeffrey & Susan Brotman Endowed Professorship, Professor Steve Calandrillo has personally experienced Brotman’s generosity.

“I feel extraordinarily honored and privileged to hold this professorship, as it has enabled research, scholarship and teaching that focuses on the behavioral incentives created by legal rules, and how law can be utilized to bring private actions in line with social goals,” he said. “It also allows me to work directly with student research assistants who will shape our society for the next generation. We are forever in the Brotmans’ debt.”

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