University of Oregon launches public phase of largest-ever fundraising campaign in state

Dave Petrone, Frances Bronet, Scott Coltrane and Wendy Wheeler Coltrane at the launch event for the public phase of the UO's fundraising campaign

The University of Oregon officially entered the public phase of its fundraising campaign on Friday night with the announcement of a $2 billion effort. The most ambitious campaign in the UO’s history, it is also the largest fundraising effort ever undertaken by an organization in the state.

The overall impact of the campaign, according to interim President Scott Coltrane, will be unprecedented levels of access for deserving Oregon students, excellence in teaching and research, and a greatly enriched campus experience.

“This is an incredibly significant point in the history of this university,” Coltrane said. “We are entering a new era of promise and strength. But this is about more than numbers, dollars or buildings. This is about capitalizing on an extraordinary opportunity to make lives extraordinary. It’s about empowering our students and faculty to make an impact and find a better way. ”

Focused on access, excellence and the UO experience, the campaign comes at a critical point in UO’s 138-year history. In July, UO established an independent governing board and this year embarked on a strategic effort to raise its academic stature by advancing world-class programs through targeted clusters of faculty hiring.

The campaign, which has more than $700 million in commitments to date, is expected to provide funding to endow several such programs. It will also fund scholarships and support for undergraduate and graduate students, faculty fellowships and chairs, expanded programs and research, and capital construction.

“This is a new day for the University of Oregon,” said Chuck Lillis, chair of the Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon. “There is a strong sense of purpose across the campus. And there is a shared commitment to tell our unique story, to decide our own future. With the generous support of Ducks worldwide, we will seize this opportunity.”

Friday’s event coincided with homecoming and a historic volunteer board summit, which brought together more than 600 volunteers and supporters representing every facet of the university.  It also marked the beginning of an 18-month rollout to alumni, friends and donors around the world. In coming months, events will take place in Portland, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Seattle.

Campaign Cabinet chair Dave Petrone, ’66, MBA ’68, who, along with his wife, Nancy, has already committed more than $2 million to the campaign for the Erb Memorial Union renovation, Women in Flight and the sports product management initiative, emphasized that the campaign will be a collective effort.

“We are all proud to be Ducks,” he said. “Administrators, staff members, friends and volunteers are going to roll up their sleeves and work together to make this campaign a success. And it will be the historic contributions of our donors that will enable us to be counted among the best.”

Petrone said the campaign speaks to the essence of what an Oregon education is about. “Provided with the right resources, new generations of Ducks will discover solutions to the world’s pressing challenges,” he said. “They will enrich our lives.”

Gov. John Kitzhaber applauded the fundraising effort and affirmed the university’s importance to the state.

“I commend the University of Oregon for its efforts to expand access to Oregon students,” Kitzhaber said. “Having a premier public research university in Oregon is critical to ensuring that all Oregonians can realize the Oregon promise and the American dream. I look forward to partnering with our universities, including the University of Oregon, to reinvest in students and in our state.”

See giving.uoregon.edu for more campaign information.

—By George Evano, University Advancement