In Seattle, the capital city of the American state of Washington, the name Henry Suzzalla is well known. He was a Croatian, born in 1875, in San Jose, California, and passed away in Seattle, in 1933. His parents were Petar and Ana Zucalo, and were from Dalmatia, specifically Dubrovnik’s hinterlands, on the border with Herzegovina. Henry got his education in his hometown, and graduated at the Stanford University, and worked as a professor. He went on to become a teaching assistant at Stanford, only to found the Sociology Department at the University of Columbia, which was the first of its kind in this area of the country. He then became the rector of the University of Washington State, and increased its student count from 1,840 to 6,850. He also increased the number of faculties from 218 to 304. It is interesting to note that he brought aviation engineer Wilhelm Boeing to Seattle, who founded the factory responsible for the creation of the Boeing 727, 737, and 747 series of aircraft. Suzzallo resigned from his position as rector when politics tried to creep into his work. He had dedicated his entire career, and his life, to the betterment of the education system. Keeping his origins in mind, and the fact that his parents were from a small village in Dalmatia, he took the first opportunity that presented itself to get an education that was unavailable to him back in his homeland, and fought for a system that would afford scholarships to all classes. At the time, these ideas were too progressive, and found little purchase. Even though his unexpected passing put a stop to his efforts, the city of Seattle and the state of Washington chose to honor this exemplary professor.
Henry Suzzallo (1875 – 1933)
The most memorable building in the University of Washington is the neo-Gothic library, with two floors above ground. The first phase of its construction was completed in 1926, at the same time that Suzzallo had resigned from his position as rector. He had pushed for the construction of the library, as he was of the opinion that it would become the soul of the University. Thus, the central library of the University of Washington was named the Suzzallo Library in his honor, leaving Henry Suzzallo forever in the memory of both the students and citizens of Seattle.
Seattle, Suzzallo Library