Paul Allen, a Washington State Cougars alumnus who is best known as the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft and owner of the Seattle Seahawks and Portland TrailBlazers, died today of complications from cancer. He was 65.
Allen had fought cancer once before, but announced just two weeks ago that the cancer had returned. He expressed optimism on Twitter, but things obviously took a turn for the worse rather quickly.
While most people will remember him for Microsoft or his ownership of professional sports franchises — including saving the Seahawks from being moved to Los Angeles by previous owner Ken Behring — Allen was a well-known philanthropist, and that extended to his alma mater. His $26 million donation to WSU’s School for Global Animal Health was the largest private grant in school history and resulted in the school and the veterinary medicine building being named after him. He also spent $3.1 million in 1996 to build a house for his fraternity, Phi Kappa Theta, and spent more than $300,000 on internet infrastructure for WSU’s fraternities and sororities.
His Paul G. Allen Family Foundation has awarded hundreds of millions of dollars to nonprofits around the globe.
Allen was enormously wealthy, but was always committed to doing good for the community with his resources. This is a huge loss for all of us.