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Former UW Medicine dean Paul Ramsey. (UW Photo)

The University of Washington announced a new endowed deanship at UW Medicine supported by two $10 million donations each from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and his wife Connie Ballmer.

The deanship will honor recently retired UW Medicine dean Paul G. Ramsey, who served as CEO of the University of Washington School of Medicine and UW Medicine for 25 years until stepping down in June. Other families have also committed contributions to the deanship.

The funding will provide funding for current and future deans to support UW Medicine programs. The funds are not restricted to a particular activity and the dean has “maximum flexibility” on how to use the funds, said a UW Medicine spokesperson.

The first distributions from the funds will be available starting June 30 this year. “Allocations are likely to be made to research projects, medical education and student support programs and to initiatives that further excellence and equity in healthcare,” said the spokesperson.

Both Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer called Ramsey a friend in a UW Medicine statement Friday announcing the deanship.

“Dr. Ramsey has been an extraordinary leader, a trusted physician, a dedicated mentor, and a cherished friend. We are pleased to be able to honor Paul’s contributions to advancing health equity in our community in this way,” said Gates in the statement. Ramsey led the integration of the school’s clinical research and training programs, and oversaw an integration with Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center.

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