The Early Years
Mr. Macfarlane was educated at Brown University and University
Northern Pacific Railroad
The Northern Pacific Years
After his service as a judge, Mr. Macfarlane became the assistant western counsel for Northern Pacific Railway (NP), where he worked his way up through promotions to become president of the railroad in 1951. During this time, he also served as a Colonel for the U.S. Army Transportation Corps in 1951 and 1952. In 1966 he left the presidency to become Chairman of the Board for Northern Pacific. (For more information, please see the section entitled, A Matter of Merger.) While he was working his way toward the railroad's presidency, Mr. Macfarlane also served as a director for the Seattle School Board from 1934 to 1950. Mr. Macfarlane also served as a director for Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, Pacific National Bank in Seattle, First National Bank in St. Paul, Colorado and Southern Railway, St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance, First Trust Company in St. Paul, American Smelting and Refining, Minnesota Mutual Life Insurance, and First Bank Stock Corporation in Minneapolis.
Mr. Macfarlane worked for NP and its successor company for the remainder of his career, serving in the following capacities: assistant western counsel (1934-1937), western counsel (1937-1940), assistant to the president, Seattle (1940-1943), vice-president and assistant to the president, Seattle (1943-1947), director of NP and various subsidiaries (1945-1970), executive vice--president (1947-1950), president (1951-1966), chairman and chief executive officer (19661969). Following the 1970 merger that created Burlington Northern Inc. (BN), Mr. Macfarlane was appointed chairman emeritus (1970-1974).
The Macfarlane Transportation Collection
Although Mr. Macfarlane passed away in St. Paul, Minnesota, on March 9, 1982, his legacy lives on in the form of the Macfarlane Transportation Collection at the Marian Gould Gallagher Law Library at the University of Washington School of Law.
For over 34 years, this rich collection continues to grow and serve students, faculty and the law community.
For more information about Mr. Macfarlane, please see Robert S. Macfarlane (Wikipedia)
When Robert S. Macfarlane spoke at the 1933 dedication of the original Condon Hall, then-Judge Macfarlane said,
''The greatest contribution of any school may well be the development of an enlightened leadership for the benefit of generations yet unborn. It will be an inquiring, examining and exploring leadership ... if it is to be a great leadership, it must be a leadership which through law seeks to bring to full fruition the American dream. "
It is in the spirit of this sentiment that the Robert Stetson Macfarlane family and the Burlington Northern established the Macfarlane Fund as a way to recognize his affection for the Law School and his lifelong respect for scholarship and the law. Members of the family and the Burlington Northern Foundation made the founding gifts to the Fund which continues to be used to purchase new books and materials for this vast collection.
When William H. Gates Hall was built, the family designated part of the Fund for the building. The Macfarlane Lounge (Room 447) honors Mr. Macfarlane and features his portrait painted by renowned American portrait artist, William Franklin Draper in 1969.
(Adapted from Dean George Schatzki, The Robert S. Macfarlane Family Establishes Memorial Library Fund, Condon Current and Annual Giving Report, 1982-83, at 7.)
mw, updated Feb. 10, 2009
lm, updated Apr. 20, 2016