President Schill on the World Championships and Chuck Lillis

President Michael Schill (credit: Charlie Litchfield, University Communications)

The eyes of the world will be on the University of Oregon and Hayward Field July 15–24 as we welcome the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 to campus. This is an unprecedented opportunity for our university: we will host two thousand of the world’s best track-and-field athletes, thousands of fans, three thousand members of the media, and a global television audience of one billion.

This marks the first time this prestigious event will be held in the United States or on a university campus. With our legendary Hayward Magic and rich history in sport, there’s no more fitting home for this global event than the UO.

In this massive spotlight, the university will proudly showcase our track-and-field legacy, our beautiful campus and community, and the relentless quest for innovation, inquiry, and impact that has contributed to the UO’s standing as one of the best public research universities in the nation.

Students and professors are making the most of the event’s celebration of diversity, human potential, and athletic achievement through a wealth of research projects and educational experiences. Our faculty members are working with colleagues around the world to study air quality issues and their impact on large venues and spectators, as well as the impact of large events on the surrounding communities. Students in the School of Journalism and Communication will experience once-in-a-lifetime opportunities as they report on the competition, building their résumés and career networks. Students from the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center are working in paid positions helping to organize the event. Another two hundred students will gain global and cultural literacy serving as envoys to the visiting international delegations.

Our innovation and research on and off the track have helped make the UO a leader in numerous sport- and wellness-related fields including human performance and physiology, prevention science, law, business, communication, product design, and more. These academic programs—and new partnerships such as the Wu Tsai Human Performance Alliance, an effort to transform human health through the science of peak performance—inspired the university to launch the Sport and Wellness Initiative, a transdisciplinary collaboration to leverage sport research for longer, better lives.

In short, the Hayward Magic that fuels monumental performances by athletes and indelible memories for fans stretches well beyond the track. The same change-making spirit permeates our labs, studios, and classrooms, inspiring generations of Ducks to achieve, excel, create, and improve our world. You can read more about some of these amazing opportunities in this issue of Oregon Quarterly.

This summer, the university will also mark another milestone—a quieter but no less important passing of the baton. Chuck Lillis, PhD ’72 (marketing), who has served as the first chair of the Board of Trustees for eight years, is stepping down, handing the reins to the talented and formidable Ginevra Ralph, BA ’83 (Clark Honors College, history), MA ’85 (special education). Chuck’s passion and aspirations for the university are boundless. He and I sat down to talk about his amazing life story, from a late-blooming student to a titan of business and philanthropy. He and his wife, Gwen, who served for twenty years on the Lundquist College of Business Board of Advisors as a member and chair and is an emerita trustee of the University of Oregon Foundation as well as past chair, have helped the UO and its students reach new heights of achievement and opportunity. My conversation with Chuck offered insights into the generosity and wisdom of these devoted Ducks. I hope you enjoy our discussion and the rest of this issue

—By Michael H. Schill, President and Professor of Law

—Photo By Charlie Litchfield, University Communications