Highlights from the life of Paul Allen, a co-founder of Microsoft and a prominent leader of both business and philanthropy.

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Paul Gardner Allen, who died Oct. 15, 2018, had a wide-ranging portfolio of accomplishments and interests. Here are some highlights of his life:

1953: Born January 21, 1953 in Seattle to Kenneth Sam Allen and Edna Faye (Gardner) Allen

1965: Begins seventh grade at Lakeside School, where he meets Bill Gates and begins using the school’s Teletype terminal, nurturing an early interest in computers

Paul Allen: 1953-2018

1969: Attends first rock concert — Jimi Hendrix at Seattle Center Coliseum. Quincy Jones said in a 2018 interview with Vulture that Allen, an avowed music lover and rock guitarist, “sings and plays just like Hendrix.”

1972: Enrolls at Washington State University in Pullman. Leaves after two years for a job with Honeywell in Boston, where he reunites with Gates, then at Harvard.

1975: Convinces Gates to leave school to co-found Micro-Soft, a name Allen is credited with picking. Later, it’s restyled Microsoft.

1980: Wins a deal to supply an operating system for the IBM PC, starting Microsoft on its path to success.

1983: Officially resigns from Microsoft after first cancer diagnosis.

1986: Founds Vulcan Inc. in Seattle as an investment and project-management firm with his sister, Jody Allen.

1988: Establishes The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, starting a philanthropic push in which he eventually gave away more than $2 billion; purchases the Portland Trail Blazers; rescues Seattle Cinerama theater from demolition by purchasing and restoring it.

1992: Contributes $20 million to committee acquiring land for the Seattle Commons, a proposed park in South Lake Union. Seattle voters reject tax levies for the project and the land reverts to Allen in 1996, leading to a two-decade redevelopment of the neighborhood.

1997: Purchases the Seattle Seahawks, keeping the NFL team in Seattle.

2000: Establishes the Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame, known now as the Museum of Pop Culture or MoPOP, at Seattle Center.

2002: Donates $14 million to the University of Washington to construct the Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science and Engineering, one of his many large gifts to Washington educational institutions.

2003: Launches the Allen Institute for Brain Science.

2004: SpaceShipOne becomes the first privately based effort to successfully put a civilian in suborbital space, winning the Ansari X Prize. Goes on to create Stratolaunch Systems in 2011 to develop a mammoth airplane to take rockets to space.

2007: Amazon leases an initial 1.6 million square feet from Vulcan, the beginning of its enormous South Lake Union headquarters campus.

2009: Buys a minority stake in the Seattle Sounders MLS franchise; treated for non-Hodgkin lymphoma

2010: Takes the Giving Pledge to give away the majority of his wealth, citing his belief that “our net worth is ultimately defined not by dollars but rather by how well we serve others.”

2013: Launches the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence in Seattle.

2014: Contributes $100 million to fight Ebola in West Africa.

2015: Awarded the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy for his work on Ebola, brain research and environmental causes including ocean protection and elephant conservation.

2017: Begins Upstream Music Fest + Summit in Seattle.


Compiled by Benjamin Romano from sources including The Seattle Times archives and Paulallen.com.