Governor Appoints Bruce Harrell as New WWU Trustee

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has appointed attorney and former Seattle City Council member Bruce Harrell to Western Washington University’s Board of Trustees.

“Bruce Harrell’s forward-thinking leadership and integrity will be a tremendous addition to the Board. The trustees are very much looking forward to working with Bruce to advance Western’s strategic priorities and commitments in the years ahead,” said Western Board of Trustees Chair John Meyer.

Gov. Inslee appointed Harrell to a six-year term, from Jan. 22, 2021 to Sept. 30, 2026.

“We are very excited that the governor has appointed Bruce Harrell to the Board of Trustees at this critical juncture for Western and higher education in general,” said Western President Sabah Randhawa. “He brings a wealth of experience in strategic thinking and advocating for equity and sound governance as a lawyer and public servant, and we look forward to the perspectives and energy he will bring to the Board.”

Bruce Harrell and his family have been committed to community service in this region for over three decades. As an attorney and community volunteer, Harrell is known for his ability to create high performing teams and for resolving conflict. He has extensive experience in technology, strategic thinking and conflict management.

“I am honored and humbled to be of service to Western Washington University and the people, students and communities they serve,” Harrell said. “I look forward to serving the governor, the public, Western’s staff, faculty and administration and, most importantly, the students in achieving optimal and sustainable outcomes in all facets of higher education.”

Harrell attended K-12 in Seattle Public Schools, graduating valedictorian from Garfield High. He played football for the University of Washington (1978 Rose Bowl Champion, 1979 Sun Bowl Champion, 1st Team Academic All American and All Pac-10) and was subsequently elected to the UW Alumni Board of Trustees. He received the 2007 University of Washington Distinguished Alumni Award in Political Science and 2008 Husky Legend award.

He began his public service in 1979 working for the Seattle City Council under Council President Paul Kraabel. In 1984, Harrell graduated from UW's law school and has served in a variety of leadership roles, representing children and seniors, union members, non-profits, affordable housing companies and working as a senior attorney for technology and telecommunication companies. He served as chief legal advisor to the Rainier Valley Community Development Fund, chief legal advisor to the First A.M.E. Church and First A.M.E. Housing Corp., and chief counsel to U S WEST.

In 2007, Harrell was elected to the Seattle City Council, emerging from a field of five candidates who ran for the open seat vacated by Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck. In 2011 and 2015, Councilmember Harrell was re-elected, and was elected by his colleagues to serve two terms as City Council president. In 2017, he was sworn in as Seattle’s 54th mayor for an interim period. He chaired the Governance, Equity, and Technology Committee, served as vice chair of the Human Services, Equitable Development, and Renter Rights Committee and served as a member of the Finance and Neighborhoods Committee.

Harrell is married to Joanne Harrell and was appointed by the Governor to serve on the Board of Regents for the UW. Joanne Harrell also sits on the Board of AAA of Washington, the Board of REI, and was previously the President and CEO of United Way of King County. They enjoy the outdoors with their children, fishing, swimming and exercising.