Simon Blackwell

Graduation Year:

Simon Blackwell (’84), is vice president of technology for Wizards of the Coast, the developer of role playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons. A Philosophy graduate, he continues to support WWU by serving on the college’s advisory council and by establishing the Downing Montague Philosophy Scholarship in honor of two favorite professors.

At 16 years of age, Simon Blackwell was drawn to Western by his sense of adventure – and opportunities to go kayaking and rock climbing and row on the crew. But he also worked hard, inspired by faculty in the Philosophy Department. He remembers Tom Downing and Phil Montague as witty and compassionate faculty members who were forthright in their opinions. He continued his study of philosophy at Bowling Green State University, where he also studied computer science. He went on to serve as a technology executive at several companies, founding two startups himself.
For five years, Blackwell has been Vice President of Technology and Digital Gaming at Wizards of the Coast, a subsidiary of Hasbro and the home of “Dungeons & Dragons,” “Magic: The Gathering” and many other role-playing games. He describes himself as a student of happiness and strives to create a work environment that embodies a sense of joy as well as accomplishment.
A 2010 Distinguished Alumnus from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Blackwell has maintained a relationship with Western for many years. He is a member of the Old Main Society, The President’s Club and the board of the CHSS Advancement Council. He also funds a scholarship in the name of his professors, Downing and Montague. Blackwell’s daughter is also a Western student. He and his wife, Juliana Perez, live on Bainbridge Island.
Today, he will challenge graduates with the question, “Whose life will you change?”