Robert D. O’Brien Chair


The Robert D. O'Brien Chair of Business in the Albers School of Business and Economics was established in 1984 to recognize Mr. O'Brien's many years of service to the university. Bob, a longtime respected member of the Seattle business community, played an important role in the development of the university during the 1960's and 70's. He was first appointed to Seattle University's Board of Regents in 1963 and was named chairman in 1964. In 1969, the university honored Mr. O'Brien with an honorary degree. He was also the founding chairman of the Board of Trustees for Seattle University and served on the board continually from 1971. He served as chairman until 1967. Bob stepped down from the board in May of 1999. He is now a trustee emeritus. Mr. O'Brien is given major credit for helping Seattle University through financial difficulties it experienced in the 1970s.

Robert O'Brien had a lengthy career with Kenworth Motor Truck company, 1943-58, and PACCAR, 1958-78. He retired from PACCAR as chairman in 1978. Over the years, he also served on many corporate and civic boards, as well as a few government boards. In 1997, Bob stepped down from the Microsoft board where he had served since 1986.


To provide support and scholarly growth opportunities for a member of Seattle University's business faculty.

Major Donors

BankAmerica, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Kenworth Truck Company, Microsoft, PACCAR, Puget Sound Bancorp, Puget Sound Energy, Qwest, Skinner Corporation, Univar, US West, Weyerhaeuser

Date Started

First gift received 1984. Chair first occupied in 1985.

Current Chair holder

Former Chair holders