Honoring Tacoma’s Women of Destiny
Aug 01, 2019
Bill Baarsma
Honoring Tacoma’s Women of Destiny

In the Centennial Year of the Congressional Passage of the 19th Amendment.”  Bill will share stories of  some of Tacoma’s most notable “Woman of Destiny” from Thea Foss--to arguably the most improbable Olympic gold medalist in modern history—Tacoma’s own Gretchen Kunigk Fraser. Some remarkable stories of  personal achievements and how that defined our City. 

Bill was born and raised in Tacoma, graduated from Stadium and attended the University of Puget Sound where he received a BA degree in political science in 1964. After graduation, he became the first Tacoma student to receive a Scottish Rite Masonic Fellowship for graduate study at George Washington University in Washington D.C.

 In 1968, he accepted a faculty position at the University of Puget Sound where he taught courses in political science, business management, public administration and urban studies.

In 1991, he was elected to the Tacoma Council as an at-large council member. Since the council position was part-time, he continued his career at UPS where he established the public administration program. In 2001, Bill retired from UPS upon being elected Tacoma’s 37th mayor.

During Bill’s terms as council member and mayor, Tacoma participated in the successful completion of the Museum of Glass, the Tacoma Art Museum, the restoration of Union Station, the Murray Morgan Bridge, the Seaport Museum, the Albers Mill and the environmental cleanup of the Foss Waterway. The University of Washington -Tacoma became a four-year undergraduate institution during his tenure as mayor. Tacoma also constructed the largest municipally owned telecommunications system in North America (Click network).

Bill is now retired and volunteers as the president of the Tacoma Historical Society and as a board member for several non-profits. He and his wife Carol live in Tacoma’s North End. He has a son, Bill, a daughter, Katya, and three grandchildren.