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A legacy of leadership: Task Force gift

December 19, 2017

Don Hellmann by Colette Cosner

There are two things in the Jackson School that most alumni of the past three decades would point to as significant parts of their undergraduate experience: The Task Force program and Professor Donald C. Hellmann.

Founded by Professor Hellmann 35 years ago when he asked 15 of his undergraduate students to produce and present a research brief and policy recommendations addressing the crisis in the United States-Japan alliance, Task Force has since grown into a hallmark experiential learning program of the Jackson School.

Thanks to a recent gift to endow this program, the work Professor Hellmann started will grow in perpetuity. With this generous support, the program has been renamed as the Donald C. Hellmann Task Force Program, honoring the legacy and commitment to global education embodied by Professor Hellmann, who has taught at UW for 51 years.

Task Force allows students to learn not only about a pressing global issue and present to an external expert, but to gain valuable and transferable skills for the workplace: teamwork, writing and leadership. Over the years, the program has gained broad recognition amongst peer institutions, and has helped make International Studies the fastest growing major in the College of Arts & Sciences.

The endowment, funded by Professor Hellmann’s son Jack, and daughter-in- law Betsy, allows the Jackson School to meet the growing demand for Task Force while expanding its scope to include more international travel opportunities, create partnerships with peer institutions around the world, and develop further learning and training outside of Task Force to meet 21st century challenges. In addition, a special fellowship award has been created in honor of both Professor Hellmann and his late wife Margery.

Since 1983, over 3,200 students have participated in over 200 Task Force courses as part of the International Studies major in the Jackson School. The gift establishing the Donald C. Hellmann Task Force Program was made also to facilitate and inspire others to join in supporting this important program that will shape and develop future generations of critical thinkers and engaged global citizens who are committed to making a difference in the world.

This article is adapted from The Jackson Report 2016-2017, an annual update of research and activities at the Jackson School.