Twin matching gifts create new chairs, boost faculty excellence

Dave Petrone and Jon Anderson

A pair of gifts from two Eugene neighbors will help the University of Oregon add to its cadre of leading professors in journalism and economics, bringing to five the number of new faculty chairs created through President Michael H. Schill’s offer to match million-dollar gifts for this purpose.

Terri and Jon Anderson of Eugene have endowed a chair for the School of Journalism and Communication, while Nancy and Dave Petrone of Palo Alto and Eugene have established a chair in economics for the College of Arts and Sciences.

FIVE DOWN, FOUR TO GO

President Michael Schill’s offer to match gifts of $1 million for faculty chairs is still available in the College of Design, College of Education and the School of Law, plus one more chair in the College of Arts and Sciences.

“Increasing the number of chairs is a top priority because they can be decisive in the fierce competition for exemplary professors who can help elevate key programs to the next level,” Schill said of his decision to match gifts for faculty chairs using funds from a large anonymous gift to the Presidential Fund for Excellence.

“For centuries, chairs have been the most prestigious honor that universities can bestow on faculty members,” he said. “Today, a chair can provide extra funding to support the recipient’s teaching and research, for hiring graduate students or for creating opportunities for undergrads.”

The first three endowed chairs created by Schill’s million-dollar match include:

  • The Charles H. Lundquist College of Business, in the areas of innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership, from Suanne and Grant Inman. Suanne Inman earned a bachelor’s in psychology from the UO in 1964; Grant Inman earned a bachelor’s in economics from the UO in the same year.
  • The School of Music and Dance, in honor of revered music professor Edmund Cykler, from Virginia and Tim Foo. Tim Foo earned a UO master’s degree in 1968 and a doctorate in 1973, both in music education.
  • The College of Arts and Sciences, in biology, from Carol Ezeir and Ned Robert in gratitude for the foundation the UO provided for Robert’s success as a cardiologist. Robert received his bachelor’s degree in biology in 1969 and a doctor of medicine degree in 1973, both from the UO.

In thanking the Andersons and the Petrones, Schill said he appreciates that both couples have repeatedly made leadership gifts over the years to create opportunities for students, raise the UO’s academic profile and boost athletics programs.

“Our students are incredibly fortunate to have champions like Jon, Terri, Dave and Nancy,” Schill said. “They pour time, energy and their own resources into strengthening this university because they believe in the promise of higher education and they know that life-changing magic happens when a great professor sparks the mind of a student.”

Schill noted that the couples recently became next-door neighbors in the university district, “which is convenient given how extensively Jon and Dave volunteer on behalf of the university. Both are UO ambassadors and former UO Foundation trustees. Between them, they have served on the advisory councils for nearly every school and college, and they have been closely involved in our fundraising campaigns going back to the 1990s.”

The Jon Anderson Chair in Journalism and Communication

Jon Anderson is the former president of Random Lengths, a leading price-reporting agency for the wood products industry. A lifelong Eugene resident, he earned an economics degree from Cornell University, where he was an NCAA all-American distance runner.

He went on to compete in the 1972 Olympics and win the Boston Marathon the following year. Anderson is married to Terri. Their son Drew is a senior at the UO.

“When we learned that our gift could be matched to endow a chair in the School of Journalism and Communication, we made the decision easily,” he said. “We have been supportive of SOJC with previous gifts, so this was a no-brainer. We are very thankful to the anonymous donor we are joining to support this endowed chair.”

Juan-Carlos Molleda, Edwin L. Artzt Dean and professor at the School of Journalism and Communication, called the gift an investment in the future.

“This generous gift and the Andersons’ ongoing support of graduate fellowships and student development ensure we can educate the next generation of media professionals to produce ethical, accurate and compelling stories in a rapidly evolving industry,” he said.

In addition to establishing the Anderson Family Graduate Fellowship Fund in the School of Journalism and Communication, the Andersons support the track and field program, UO Libraries and renovation of Hayward Field. The family has also contributed to many campus building projects dating back to the Knight Library expansion and construction of the Moshofsky Center. Jon Anderson served on the University of Oregon Foundation board of trustees from 2005-15.

The Nancy and David Petrone Chair in Economics

Dave Petrone, a “double Duck” with an economics degree and an MBA, is retired. He was a vice chairman at Wells Fargo & Co. in San Francisco until he and a business partner co-founded a joint venture with US Bancorp. He said creating a chair for the UO’s economics department is especially meaningful to him.

“My inspiration for majoring in economics, and my eventual life’s work, was Economics 101, taught by an exceptional professor named Robert Smith,” Petrone said.

The Petrones’ previous gifts run the gamut, from creating scholarships and helping expand PathwayOregon to providing resources for teaching and research in nearly every academic department, boosting athletics programs and supporting building projects, most recently the new Black Cultural Center.

Over time, they have helped to lift or launch a host of programs, such as the master’s program in sports product management, Women in Flight, the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center and the human physiology department’s environmental chamber.

“The generosity of Dave and Nancy Petrone sets a standard for all of us at Oregon,” said W. Andrew Marcus, who worked closely with the Petrones during his tenure as Tykeson Dean of the Arts and Sciences. “They lead by example, inspiring others to give while at the same time helping tens of thousands of students and many of our faculty and staff.”

—By Melody Ward Leslie, University Communications