Gov. Inslee appoints Don Barbieri to WSU Board of Regents

By Kathy Barnard, University Communications

Barbieri-80PULLMAN, Wash. – Don Barbieri, a lifelong community development advocate in the Pacific Northwest, will become the newest member of the Washington State University Board of Regents. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced the appointment today.

“Don Barbieri has spent the majority of his professional and personal career working to improve the quality of life for Washingtonians and other residents of the Pacific Northwest,” Inslee said. “He will be a great addition to the board of regents of our state’s land-grant research university.”

Barbieri’s six-year term begins Jan. 1, 2015. He will succeed Regent Connie Niva of Everett, who completed her second five-year term in September.

“Regent Niva served Washington State University and the state of Washington with great distinction during her time on the board, and I thank her for that,” said WSU President Elson S. Floyd. “I welcome Mr. Barbieri to the WSU family and look forward to working with him.”

“As our state’s land-grant institution, WSU’s primary mission is to help our young people shape a vision for their future and then provide them a practical, affordable way to achieve that dream,” Barbieri said.

A Spokane native, he has dedicated his professional career and philanthropic vocation to advancing quality of life throughout the Pacific Northwest. He served as chairman of the board and director of Red Lion Hotels Corp., formerly known as WestCoast Hospitality Corp. and Cavanaughs Hospitality Corp., until his retirement in 2013. He served as president and CEO there from 1978 until April 2003, when he began his bid for U.S. Congress to represent the 5th Congressional District.

Barbieri served as a member of the Washington State Economic Development Board under three governors while chairing the state Quality of Life Task Force. He helped lead efforts for legislation for the state’s higher education branch campus system and the acquisition of property for the WSU Spokane campus.

He is past chair for the Spokane Regional Chamber of Commerce and past chair of Spokane United Way. He served as president of the Spokane Chapter of the building Owners and Managers Association and of the Spokane Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Barbieri chaired the Providence/Sacred Heart Medical Center Board in some of its strongest growth years and currently serves on the steering committee of the Healthy Washington Coalition.

Since retirement, he has concentrated on building the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund, a charitable foundation that supports reducing poverty, expanding affordable housing and fostering a more dynamic and powerful constituency throughout the Inland Northwest.


Kathy Barnard, WSU University Communications, 509-335-8055,