UO fundraising campaign posts second-highest annual total

Student in science lab

Alumni and friends posted one of their most generous years ever with gifts totaling $254.65 million for the University of Oregon during the fiscal year ending June 30.

UO President Michael H. Schill said the number of people making first-time gifts shot up by more than 26 percent.

“The act of giving to the University of Oregon is making tremendous things happen for our students, the institution and ultimately the entire state,” Schill said. “Thanks to our generous donors and friends, our students are benefiting from more scholarships, extraordinary new and updated facilities, more outstanding professors and valuable research opportunities. 

“This support is critical in enabling us to play our role as the leader in higher education in the state and one of the great research universities in the nation,” he added. “I offer my sincerest thanks and appreciation on behalf of the entire UO community.”

Many of the $3 billion campaign’s major initiatives are nearing completion as the result of giving in 2019, Schill said. This fall will mark the opening of two new landmarks funded with the help of donors: the $42.5 million Tykeson Hall, which ushers in a new era integrating academic advising with career counseling, and the $3 million Black Cultural Center.

Highlights among gifts received during 2019 included:

  • Nearly $20 million in student support.
  • Endowments for new faculty chairs in journalism, architecture and economics.
  • An endowment for the deanship for the School of Music and Dance made possible by Phyllis and Andy Berwick.
  • A $10 million gift from Mary and Tim Boyle for a data science center to support the UO’s biomedical research collaborations with Oregon Health & Science University.
  • Support for the Hayward Field renovation, which is creating the finest track and field facility in the world.

The UO community’s strong tradition of giving back continues to impress Vice President for Advancement Mike Andreasen, who noted that 28 percent of the faculty and staff made gifts during fiscal 2019.

“From those who are making their first-ever gifts as part of the annual online Giving Day challenge to decisions by longtime supporters to include the university in wills or estate plans, I am bowled over by the sheer numbers of people who make supporting this university their priority,” he said.

Andreasen said donor interest helped prompt the university to increase its original fundraising goal from $2 billion to $3 billion last September.

He also thanked donors for making progress on another top campaign goal, which is to gain control over the university’s financial destiny by building its endowment. The UO Foundation reported the endowment reached $940 million as of June 30, an increase of $328 million since the public launch of the campaign in 2014.

 “The University of Oregon is a passion project shared by generations of alumni and friends whose generosity benefits everyone in our state and beyond,” Andreasen said. “The outpouring of support is a welcome reminder that we are surrounded by caring people who demonstrate their faith in the future through giving back. We are grateful for every gift.”

About 75 percent of the UO’s supporters are alumni, but many also have connections as employees or as parents. Oregonians account for nearly 64 percent of donors.

Of the $2.09 billion raised so far in the campaign, $357.8 million is for student support; $448.3 million is for capital construction and improvements, and $1.28 billion supports faculty, programs and the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact, slated to open its first building in spring 2020. As of the end of June, 104,305 donors had made 470,901 gifts since the campaign began in 2011.

By Melody Ward Leslie, University Communications


Campaign to date: Impact and accomplishments

$2.09 billion raised as of June 30

$357.8 million for student support:

  • Need-based financial aid. Sixty-five percent of all undergraduates receive some form of assistance.
  • Prestigious merit awards including expansion of Presidential Scholarships.
  • Funds for student employment in UO Libraries as well as the schools and colleges.
  • Help for families sending their first student to college through PathwayOregon and other financial aid. Twenty-nine percent of Oregon freshmen will be first-generation college graduates.
  • Assistance for student veterans, students in emergency hardship situations, students engaged in travel and experiential learning opportunities, “Dreamer” students, parent and family programs, and more.

$448.3 million supporting capital construction and improvements:

  • The Black Student Cultural Center, a $3 million donor-funded project, will celebrate its grand opening this October.
  • Willie and Donald Tykeson Hall, the $42.5 million hub for the College of Arts and Sciences and the career center, opens for business this fall.
  • Renovations of Pacific Hall into science labs; Chapman Hall, home of the Clark Honors College; and the Allan Price Science Commons and Research Library.
  • Support for the Hayward Field renovation, which is creating the finest track and field facility in the world.

$1.28 billion for faculty, programs and the Knight Campus:

  • New endowed faculty chairs in biology, chemistry, business, journalism, music, design, education and economics. Through the campaign, the number of endowed faculty chairs has grown 37 percent.
  • Endowments for two of the UO’s four named deanships.
  • An eye-catching skybridge over Franklin Boulevard is now in place. It will connect the Lorry I. Lokey Science Complex with the first building in the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact, scheduled to open in the spring of 2020.
  • Contributions to new academic programs in the College of Arts and Sciences, Clark Honors College and all five of the UO’s professional schools and colleges, with major donor investments in obesity prevention, volcanology and zebrafish research.
  • Support for undergraduate research. Approximately 30 percent of UO students participate in faculty-mentored research experiences.

Growth of the UO’s endowment:

  • As of June 30, the UO’s endowment grew to $935 million — returns, plus cash gifts, minus distributions — an increase of $323 million since the public launch of the campaign in 2014.