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Program History

The concept of a program for bankers from nations bordering the Pacific Ocean first occurred to Dr. Kermit O. Hanson, then Dean of the School of Business Administration at the University of Washington and concurrently Educational Director of the Pacific Coast Banking School (PCBS), when he was returning to Seattle on a flight from Australia in late November 1975. A tour of Pacific Rim nations and the awareness of the significant developments in the western Pacific convinced Dean Hanson that real potential for economic growth and opportunity existed among the nations bordering on the Pacific.

On December 1975, Dean Hanson first presented the concept of the program to bankers from the western United States serving on the Pacific Coast Banking School (PCBS) Administrative Committee. None of the members had experience in international banking and the reaction was one of caution since the idea seemed very foreign. However, they gradually did agree to support a program and present the concept to the PCBS Board of Directors.

The Board Chairman, at the time, Alvin J. Schoenhals, Senior Vice President of Zions First National Bank in Salt Lake City; Vice Chairman Ralph J. Crawford, Vice Chairman of Wells Fargo Bank, NA, in San Francisco; and a few other Board members reacted very positively. Their interest prompted the Board to appoint a task force chaired by Crawford to explore the nature, need and feasibility of a program for Pacific Rim bankers.

In January 2018, The Pacific Rim Bankers Program (PRBP) was renamed the University of Washington Global Bankers Program (UW-GBP). This change reflects both the true level of excellence that the program curriculum has delivered since its inception and the increasing geographical diversity of participants who are now attending the Program.

When Dr. Kermit Hanson, former Dean of the UW Business School, first envisioned this Program, he had 3 primary goals in mind:

  • Examine issues of mutual interest to all Pacific Rim nations and beyond.
  • Improve participants’ abilities to find innovative solutions to banking and management challenges.
  • Facilitate banking relationships through connections to alumni from around the globe.

These goals still hold true for the program today and have become increasingly broader in nature as the program now attract participants not only from Asia, but from around the world.

The name change comes largely in response to feedback from our Program Administrative and Advisory Boards, as well as our desire to reflect the ongoing evolution of the program. We are excited for this next chapter in this long-standing and special program.

Read about the 40th anniversary celebration for UW-GBP.