Tuesday, October 21, 2014

UO aims high

The Register Guard
October 21st, 2014

When Phil and Penny Knight gave $500 million to the Oregon Health & Science University a year ago, with the provision that OHSU raise an equal amount within two years, supporters of the University of Oregon had to ask themselves a question: Would the UO be able to meet such a challenge? The answer, UO officials believe, is yes, and then some: The UO intends to reach a $2 billion fundraising goal within four years, with $700 million already gathered from donors during the “silent” phase of the campaign.
That leaves $1.3 billion to go by 2018, or $325 million a year, a significant quickening of the current pace of fundraising. It is the largest philanthropic drive ever conducted by an Oregon institution of any kind.
While Knight, co-founder of Nike Inc., and his wife gave part of the $700 million raised so far and may make important contributions during the remainder of the campaign, they were conspicuously absent from Friday’s event announcing the $2 billion goal, underscoring a vital point: The UO is confident that it can count on more than one megadonor to secure a future that is increasingly dependent on private philanthropy.
The UO plans to use the money to increase the number of need-based and merit-based scholarships, add 150 tenure-track faculty positions, expand enrollment in the Robert D. Clark Honors College by 50 percent, underwrite its effort to establish “centers of excellence” in teaching and research, and pay for a number of academic and athletic buildings and facilities. The overarching goal is to kick the UO into a higher gear, as befits its status as a member of the Association of American Universities.


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