What a busy summer: A look back at the stories of the season

Members of the UO Chamber Choir

It seems like just yesterday when members of the class of 2019 were flipping their tassels and walking out of Matthew Knight Arena and into the big wide world.

But it’s already late September and a new academic year is just around the corner, and soon Ducks will be flocking back to campus after summer break.

While campus was relatively quiet this summer, there was still a lot going on: Construction projects, visits from future Ducks, research developments, a namesake for a new campus building and more.

Here are some stories you may have missed.

Group of IPCA participants on a raftCampus happenings

Hundreds of middle and high school students descended on campus this summer from across Oregon and neighboring states to experience what college is like through UO bridge programs and summer college visits.

The new UO Black Cultural Center will bear the name of Lyllye Reynolds-Parker, a member of one of Eugene’s first black families, a civil rights activist and UO alumna who worked as an academic adviser for 17 years.

Construction of Hayward Field is proceeding apace, with the first meet — the Pac-12 Track and Field Championships — planned for next May.


The HEDCO Education Building marked its 10th anniversary. The $50.5 million project transformed the College of Education, created an iconic entrance to the west side of campus and accelerated the college’s far-reaching efforts to advance education and social services.

100 Ducks logoThe Oregon-based AmeriCorps program known as RARE, or Resource Assistance for Rural Environments, a unique University of Oregon learning and outreach program, celebrated 25 years linking the skills, expertise and innovation of higher education with the economic development and environmental needs of communities and regions around Oregon.

Oregon Quarterly celebrated its 100th anniversary by compiling a list of 100 Ducks Who Made a Difference, highlighting some lesser-known alumni, students, faculty, staff, administrators and friends of the university who made the world better.


Illustration of what the bear-like creature may have looked likeA team of UO researchers determined a jaw pulled from the Condon Fossil Collection likely belonged to a bear-sized, bone-cracking, meat-eating, hooved animal, the first of its kind to be placed in the Pacific Northwest.

A UO-led team of researchers working the icy coastal waters of Alaska found that tidewater glaciers are potentially melting some 100 times faster than predicted.

The West Coast Earthquake Early Warning System, known as ShakeAlert, got a $1.6 million boost. UO researchers will use the federal funds to finish placing seismometers mainly on the southern and central Oregon coast and to expand real-time GPS monitoring and improve cybersecurity.

AcademicsWoman wearing virtual reality headset

The Oregon Reality Lab, a project of the School of Journalism and Communication, is an interdisciplinary testing ground dedicated to the teaching and research of immersive media as an ethical tool for social innovation.

A $10 million gift from Mary and Tim Boyle of Portland will help establish a joint center in biomedical data science recently announced by the University of Oregon and Oregon Health & Science University.

Awards and kudos

Ten graduates of the UO School of Law’s class of 2019 were granted entry into the prestigious Order of the Coif national honor society.

Ernesto Javier Martínez, an associate professor of ethnic studies at the University of Oregon, won a prestigious Imagen Award for a short film he wrote, “La Serenata.”

Fractal carpet piecesUO Chamber Choir was awarded first place in the chamber choirs/vocal ensemble category at the prestigious Grand Prix of Nations in Gothenburg, Sweden

What happens when a physicist collaborates with product designers? A prestigious Innovation Award at the world’s top commercial design conference for a fractal-inspired flooring product designed to reduce stress.

The sporting life

Kayvon Thibodeaux came to the UO to sack quarterbacks and learn everything he could about journalism and communication. The freshman phenom said he chose Oregon because he felt it gave him the best opportunity to succeed on and off the field.

Even casual Duck fans are familiar with the Justin Herbert story. But the senior quarterback, a four-year starter and likely high NFL draft pick, is also a biology nerd and academic star.

When former Duck defensive tackle Haloti Ngata announced his retirement from the NFL after 13 seasons terrorizing quarterbacks and stuffing running backs, he decided to do it from the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.

—By Tim Christie, University Communications