It’s clear that Phil and Penny Knight have made a huge game changing difference for the University of Oregon. And it’s still a work in progress.
Loyalty seems to be the main inspiration for Phil Knight’s decades-long gifts to the UO. The architectural imagination of the towering new Hayward Field, Matthew Knight Arena, the Jaqua Center surrounded by the black moat and flanked by birch trees, the cantilevered Hatfield-Dowlin complex, the Knight Law School building and, of course, the Knight Library — and now the $1 billion scientific discovery mega complex and skybridge have all been made possible by the realized dreams of a crusty venerable track coach and one of his enterprising, indefatigable runners. The rest is history.
The UO is not a wealthy institution on the Stanford scale. Measure 5 in 1990 dealt a devastating blow to Oregon higher education. Hence, loyal Ducks with means have stepped up. Knight’s endowed professorships abound throughout the university.
Deep generous loyalty to family and alma mater by Knight reminds me of my early-teenage era’s song “Be True To Your School.”
And the best may be yet to come! Who knows? As a Duck and Oregonian, I am grateful and proud of Knight’s inspired support for Oregon’s great and precious university and her students, professors and gutsy female and male athletes.