His many admirers considered Dave Frohnmayer the “leader’s leader,” and now his legacy will live on permanently at the University of Oregon School of Law through the new Dave Frohnmayer Chair in Leadership and Law, made possible by a lead gift from Lorry I. Lokey.
Lokey's leadership gift has inspired other donors to join, and with more than $3.3 million so far, the new endowment is well on its way to supporting faculty excellence and providing leadership programming for students.
As University of Oregon president, Frohnmayer oversaw a 25 percent growth in student enrollment and an expansion of the UO’s prestige and academic scope sufficient for it to rise to the coveted Tier 1 status in the Carnegie classification system. His ability to inspire confidence in others was so contagious that he was able to lead two record-setting fundraising campaigns for the UO totaling $1.1 billion, despite economic challenges.
Lokey, a Stanford University graduate who grew up in Portland and made his fortune by founding BusinessWire, is a leading benefactor to the UO’s academic mission. He has advanced academics across the board at the UO with more than $150 million in gifts. His contributions stem largely from his admiration and friendship for Frohnmayer and their work together during the UO’s last fundraising campaign, which ended in 2008.
“Dave was a great man and a great friend,” Lokey said. “I would have loved to have him for a teacher. An endowment makes sure that stability and a legacy are in place for perpetuity. We wanted to create the best tribute for Dave that we could, one that sets apart the University of Oregon and the law school.”
“The generous and visionary gifts of Lorry Lokey and fellow donors honor, in an extraordinary way, Dave’s legacy as a legal scholar and teacher,” said Michael H. Schill, president and professor of law. “The School of Law was Dave’s home. Our vision is that this chair will attract for the law school a leader and scholar of the highest order who can further Dave’s legacy and ensure a caliber of teaching that will advance the UO law school’s reputation.”
In addition to establishing the largest endowment for a named law school faculty position, the gifts include funding for leadership education, a concept prized by Frohnmayer. Donors Nancy and Dave Petrone and Mary and Tim Boyle are among those who have joined Lokey in funding the leadership program, which will include classes and seminars, service learning and networking opportunities for students in the law school and other departments.
“The funding support for this chair and for the leadership program will enable the UO to provide the kind of training that is so valued in the professional world but largely missing in schools,” said Michael Moffitt, dean of the law school and a Philip H. Knight Chair. “This initiative will help set Oregon graduates apart as leaders and students of leadership.”
During and after his presidency, Frohnmayer taught wide-ranging seminars on the concept of leadership in the Robert D. Clark Honors College and the School of Law. The 500-page syllabus for his PS199 Theories of Leadership course contains readings from the worlds of business, philosophy, history, culture, sociology, law, politics and religion.
His teaching, based on his experience as a state and national leader, advocated “leadership through esprit,” an approach that emphasizes dialogue, a shared vision, a team effort, a code of conduct, the search for common ground and making a difference in people’s lives in a way that can be enduring.
“Leadership in particular — that was Dave’s subject,” said his wife, Lynn Frohnmayer. “He derived so much strength and joy from being a teacher. You could see it in his eyes, hear it in the quality of the discussion and feel it in the energy and passion brought forth in his classroom. For our family, it is so moving for Lorry Lokey and supporters to unite these two great loves of Dave’s life and ensure that, at the University of Oregon, his name will be forever linked to law and leadership.”
The UO School of Law is the top-ranked law school in Oregon, with campuses in both Eugene and Portland. Oregon Law students have the benefit of studying in three nationally ranked specialty programs: legal research and writing, appropriate dispute resolution and environmental and natural resources law. See https://law.uoregon.edu/explore/about-oregon-law
More about Dave Frohnmayer:
Frohnmayer, a second-generation Oregonian from Medford, graduated from Harvard, studied at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar in 1964, and received his master’s degree there in 1971. He went on to become a state legislator and attorney general before returning to the UO, first as dean of the law school and then as the school’s 15th president, a post he held from 1994 to 2009. He died in 2015 at age 74.
Committed to service to the state as well as the university, Dave Frohnmayer was a member of the Oregon Progress Board, the Public Commission on the Legislature and the Ford Family Foundation Board of Directors. An accomplished scholar, he was a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a national prize-winning author on the U.S. Constitution.
On the national level, he cofounded the National Marrow Donor Program and the Fanconi Anemia Research Fund, and was an Association of American Universities executive committee member as well as the Internet2 board of trustees. He served on several NCAA committees and chaired the Bowl Championship Series Presidential Oversight Committee.
The 2016 edition of the Oregon Law Review was a tribute to Frohnmayer.
For more about the Dave Frohnmayer Chair in Leadership and Law, see the law school website.
—By George Evano, University Communications