Remembering Fred Hutch philanthropist Robert M. "Bob" Arnold

The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center’s Public Health Sciences building is named in thanks for $15 million gift—the largest single donation to Fred Hutch—in 2005
Bob Arnold
Bob Arnold continued his family's legacy of support to the Hutchinson Center with an unprecedented gift of $15 million in 2005. Center leadership named the building that is home to Public Health Sciences Division the Robert M. Arnold Building in his honor. Center News file photo

Robert M. "Bob" Arnold, who in 2005 gave $15 million to the Hutchinson Center—the largest private donation in the organization's history—passed away in California after a brief illness.

The Robert M. Arnold building, home to the Public Health Sciences Division, was named for Arnold in gratitude for his support of advancing new treatments and cures for cancer. 

President and Director Dr. Larry Corey expressed his sympathies to the Arnold family and remembered Arnold in a memo to Fred Hutch board members and supporters.

"Bob Arnold knew well the personal cost of cancer: He lost his mother, father and brother to the disease," Corey wrote. "He also understood the critical importance of private support to accelerate lifesaving research. Bob was a longtime friend and supporter of Fred Hutch."

Arnold’s parents, Seattle philanthropists Lawrence Arnold and Grace Heffernan Arnold, were instrumental in helping Dr. Bill Hutchinson launch the Center in 1972.  The Grace Heffernan Arnold Guild, formed by a group of Grace’s friends in her honor, hosts the annual Hutch Holiday Gala. Fred Hutch’s Arnold Library also is named for the family.

A native of Seattle, Bob Arnold began donating to Fred Hutch in 1961. He was a member of the Hutch’s board of directors, succeeding his father in that role, and became a founding member of the Senior Council. In 1981, Arnold retired from his position as senior vice president of Seattle-First National Bank, having worked for that institution since 1943, but he continued on the bank’s board of directors until 1999 and served on many local arts and nonprofits boards.

Arnold's wife, two daughters, extended family and friends survive him. Services will take place Wednesday, March 13, 3 p.m. at Saint Mark's Cathedral in Seattle.

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