The Oregon state legislature has committed $37 million toward three UO projects, including construction of the new College and Careers Building and significant renovations to Klamath and Chapman Halls. Legislators also increased state funding for the state’s seven public universities.
The College and Careers Building, awarded $17 million in matching funds, will provide a new home for the College of Arts and Sciences and the Career Center. The 50,000-square-foot building will also have classroom and office space, and will free space in other UO buildings that will be renovated to modern standards.
More than 60 percent of UO graduates earn degrees from the College of Arts and Sciences, making it a hub of activity for future generations of Ducks.
University leaders hope that the College and Careers Building will encourage student-faculty engagement and help prepare students to make a mark on the world.
Philanthropists Willie and Don Tykeson transformed this ambitious idea into reality with a $10 million lead gift last September.
“You’re on this planet to enjoy, contribute, make a difference, lead a fulfilling life, and have fun along the way,” Don Tykeson said when the gift was announced. “I think a liberal arts education helps equip you very well for that.”
Another 15 donors have pledged $1.12 million to the project, which is estimated to be completed by late 2018.
The Klamath Hall project received $12 million to convert the third-floor lab space into high-tech chemistry labs and to build a new fourth floor for faculty and student offices, a large classroom, and conference rooms.
The Chapman Hall project received $8 million for a major renovation for the home of the Robert Donald Clark Honors College.
Two recent graduates and a doctoral student have earned Fulbright Awards for 2015. German major Sarah Martin will serve as a teacher at a high school in North Rhine–Westphalia, Germany. Shireen Farahani, a linguistics major, will be living and working in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. Jerilynn “M” Jackson, a doctoral student in geography, plans to travel to Höfn, Iceland, where she will study glaciers and climate change as part of her dissertation research. Three UO professors also received Fulbrights for the 2015 acedemic year: Michelle McKinley (law), Kiersten Muenchinger (architecture and allied arts), and Marc Schlossberg (planning, public policy and management).
UO doctoral student Kristen Sweeney conducted five 20-hour experiments using sandboxes to show how flat plains can be converted into ridges and valleys over time. Sweeney used mist from 42 nozzles and 625 blunt needles that fired periodic bursts of large water drops to mimic the effects of disturbances (like burrowing gophers, tree roots, or frost) on hillsides. “Ridges and valleys are part of a fundamental landscape pattern that people easily recognize,” said Sweeney. “From an airplane, you look down and you see watersheds, you see valleys, and they tend to have very regular spacing. Explaining this pattern is a fundamental question in geomorphology.” The findings, which were published in the July 3 issue of Science, will give researchers a better sense of how climate change may affect landscape. Sweeney’s project is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.
A study by Pranjal Mehta, assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, suggests that high levels of testosterone and low levels of the stress hormone cortisol can be linked to a negotiator’s financial success. In the study, conducted in New York and Austin, Texas, the results linked testosterone spikes to higher financial earnings, but only when cortisol levels remained low during a negotiation. “The findings suggest that when cortisol decreases, rising testosterone is related to behaviors that maximize monetary rewards,” the researchers wrote in the study. “But when cortisol increases, rising testosterone is linked to bargaining behaviors in which social concern comes at a financial cost.” These preliminary findings were published in the journal Psychological Science. This is the first of a series of studies that Mehta has planned.
Vin Lananna, associate director of athletics, has been selected as head coach of the US men’s track-and-field team for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. A member of the US Track-and-Field and Cross-Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame, Lananna has been a head coach for national teams at world championships and was an assistant coach at the 2004 Olympics.
The UO collected $214 million in gifts and pledges during the 2014–15 academic year, with 76 percent of those funds designated for academics. It was the second-highest total in the history of the university. The university has now raised $826.9 million toward its campaign goal of $2 billion. More than 10,000 donors made their first gifts to the UO during the 2014–15 year, an 18.6 percent increase. Michael Andreasen, vice president for university advancement, believes the success of the past year sends an important message about the university and its supporters. “It’s deeply gratifying to see that longtime and new donors alike believe in the impact the UO can have on the lives of individuals, our state, and our society,” Andreasen said. “This is quite an achievement in the midst of major transitions and high expectations. It’s a tribute to the extraordinary commitment of our volunteers and donors.
UO researchers and colleagues from Duke, North Carolina State and the Woods Hole National Oceanographic Institute happened upon the remains of a shipwreck dating to the late 18th or early 19th century. In addition to this surprise, the scientists also found what they were looking for: 16 species of deep-sea animals a mile deep, off the coast of North Carolina.