Phil Knight and Michael Schill walk together

A Monumental Impact

Dear Lundquist College alumni, friends, students, faculty, and staff,

What an incredible gift! As you have now likely heard, Phil and Penny Knight have provided a $500 million lead gift to create a new Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact. This represents the largest private gift ever to a public flagship institution, and it will truly transform the University of Oregon. The $1 billion initiative will fast-track scientific discoveries into innovations that improve the quality of life for people in Oregon, the nation, and the world.

The intent of the gift is to further scientific discovery. We believe it will do that and so much more through the engagement of our entire campus. The Knight Campus is about turning ideas that come from scientific discoveries and research into innovations and applications that improve the human condition. It's all about bringing amazing research to market, as well as exploring connections and collaborations that can create entirely new industries, leading to unforeseen career paths for future scientists and students.

We clearly have expertise and tie-ins to all of these aspirations at the Lundquist College of Business. Whether it is partnering with scientists, academics, and engineers to identify commercialization potential through our Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship or finding new ways for business to run smarter, better, and wiser for the greater good through our Center for Sustainable Business Practices, we have a successful track record of accelerating the cycle of inquiry, discovery, innovation, and impact. Indeed, the integrative, interdisciplinary research to be fostered within the Knight Campus is an ideal match for the interactive environment that underlies the emerging innovation economy.

UO leaders have already identified the Lundquist College of Business as a leading resource for this endeavor. In his announcement, UO President Michael Schill noted that he sees “partnerships among the business school, law school, planning and public policy department, and the Knight Campus around entrepreneurship and product development." Acting executive director of the Knight Campus, Patrick Phillips, has already sought out incoming Dean Sarah E. Nutter to express how excited he is to discuss the Lundquist College's potential contributions. Animated and exuberant discussions are taking place informally among faculty and students in the Lillis Business Complex. And we will schedule more structured conversations with everyone in the coming months to get any and all ideas about how we can contribute to and advance the interdisciplinary vision of this new enterprise.

In sum, we are excited and thrilled by the implications of the Knight's gift not only for the university, but also for the state of Oregon, the business community, and the future of our students and nation. Of course, the full impact of the gift is still sinking in and will be realized over many years and decades. For now, we are thinking big and are committed to being key partners in new the collaborations and transformative discoveries enabled by the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact.

It is truly a defining moment for the University of Oregon, and we are just getting started.

Bruce Blonigen
Interim Dean, Philip H. Knight Professor of Social Science, Lundquist College of Business

Sarah E. Nutter
Incoming Edward Maletis Dean, Lundquist College of Business

Read More about the Knight Gift