Skip to main content

UW Medicine lost a great friend and supporter with the passing of Brooks Ragen on Sunday, April 15, at the age of 84. For more than 40 years, Brooks and his wife, Suzanne (Susie), have inspired us with their passion and philanthropic support for our mission and their special interest in medical education.

Brooks served on almost every UW Medicine board and advisory committee. He was a member of the University Hospital Board (which became UW Medical Center) from 1987 to 1997 and served as Board Chair from 1992 to 1994. He was a member of the UW Medicine Board from 1998 to 2007; chaired our Planning, Finance and Compliance committees; and was a member of the Joint Conference Committee, Executive Committee, and Strategic Initiatives Committee. He also served on the Board of the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

In all of these roles, Brooks’ contributions were amplified by his skill in making connections and the great esteem he enjoyed as a beloved and trustworthy friend. He inspired his vast network of colleagues and civic leaders to become supporters of UW Medicine. In 2008, we recognized Brooks for setting the “gold standard” for volunteers by establishing the UW Medicine Ragen Volunteer Service Award. This award honors one extraordinary volunteer each year who follows in his footsteps.

As a philanthropist, Brooks and his family have generously supported many areas of the University and have a history of special generosity to UW Medicine. He served on the UW Medicine Campaign Committee from 2004 to 2008 and was an influential member of the Campaign Initiatives Committee for Accelerate: The Campaign for UW Medicine.

Brooks chaired the School of Medicine Scholarship Committee for more than 10 years and, with Susie, established the Brooks G. and Suzanne L. Ragen Endowed Scholarship in 1996. This scholarship provides financial assistance to medical students in the WWAMI region. In keeping with their strong environmental interests, they also established the Brooks and Suzanne Ragen Friday Harbor Laboratories Endowed Scholarship in 2007 to support graduate and undergraduate students studying marine biology and oceanography.

A native of Portland, Oregon, Brooks held degrees from Yale University, Stanford Law School and New York University Graduate School of Business Administration. His career in business and finance spanned more than 50 years. He was Chairman of McAdams Wright Ragen, an investment banking firm, and after a merger in 2014, served as Vice Chairman of Robert W. Baird & Co.

Among his other roles as a civic leader, Brooks served as president of the boards of A Contemporary Theater (ACT), Bush School, the Seattle Bond Club and the Seattle Art Museum. He published two books: “Value Investing: A Practitioner’s Handbook,” and “The Meek Cutoff,” an exploration of the route of Oregon’s famous lost wagon train of 1845.

We are grateful to Susie Ragen for her service on UW Medicine’s Campaign Cabinet and for continuing to serve on the UW Medicine Eye Institute Community Action Board. During this National Healthcare Volunteer Week, I want to express our deepest sympathy to the entire Ragen family on behalf of the community that Brooks enriched so greatly.


Paul G. Ramsey, M.D.

CEO, UW Medicine

Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs and

Dean of the School of Medicine,

University of Washington


Leave a Reply