Friends, Donors, and Irrational Love
It’s awe-inspiring to think that every gift in our campaign, from more than 80,000 of you, now totaling more than $1.5 billion, is transforming this campus. In each and every one of these gifts you can see generosity at work. Collectively, they are driving the key objectives of our campaign—striving for excellence, ensuring student access and success, and creating one of the country’s most unique and innovative student experiences in and out of the classroom.
In this issue of Oregon Quarterly you’ll read about the impact of some of these gifts, and how they are returning much more than their face value, in ways both visible and intangible. The $500 million lead gift by Penny and Phil Knight to launch a new science campus will return billions in sponsored research, improve the health and well-being of society, and be an engine for Oregon’s knowledge-based economy. Gifts from Mary and Tim Boyle, Lorry I. Lokey, and Cyndy and Ed Maletis are ensuring a bright future through our trailblazing genetics research facilities, the new Allan Price Science Commons and Research Library, and our growing business college. Carol and Tom Williams’ foresight in seeding faculty creativity has produced 20 years of memorable innovation in our classrooms. The many thousands of alumni and friends who have donated to scholarship funds have given a head start to recent grads like Chloe Huckins, Katty Kaunang, and Graham Simon.
I often refer to the generosity of our donors as an act of “irrational love” for the university. I know this to be true because our increased levels of giving over the past six years have come during a time of significant transition and change. Why would anyone invest in a time of such change other than because of a deep belief and commitment?
There’s another sign. Several of our most celebrated recent gifts—from the Boyles, from Gwen and Chuck Lillis (volcanology), from Cheryl and Allyn Ford (Pacific Hall), from Connie and Steve Ballmer (obesity prevention), and now Penny and Phil Knight—were for areas outside of their academic degrees, professional fields, and previous giving. What would inspire a donor to invest so deeply in these areas? To me, it can only be explained by the fact that our alumni and friends sense that this is the university’s moment—that this is a time for our most loyal volunteers to act in a leap of faith, trust, and, yes—irrational love—to ensure that we reach our full potential. Our faculty, students, staff, alumni, and state deserve this extraordinary level of purpose and opportunity. This is what makes Ducks Ducks.
We are so grateful for your trust. It’s our pledge to reward your confidence with focused attention to the needs, ambitions, and aspirations of our students, faculty members, and the broad UO community, and to create the kinds of impact detailed in this edition’s stories.
Mike Andreasen is the UO’s vice president for advancement.