For Dave Petrone ’66, MBA ’68, it’s all about investing in people. He and his wife, Nancy, are longtime supporters of the University of Oregon, and made two recent gifts—to the Lundquist College and UO Athletics—which they hope will help set the course for the University of Oregon’s future.
“Wowed, I was just knocked over,” he said of the plan for the new UO Sports Product Management (SPM) initiative, which seeks to launch a graduate degree program at UO’s Portland campus fall 2015. The Petrone family gift jumpstarts the plan.
The couple used five metrics in evaluating the two gifts to his alma mater, he said. “Is it new, entrepreneurial, interdisciplinary? Does it make sense in the context of UO? Does it connect people?”
He said students, alumni, and investors get all that and more in the new Sports Product Management initiative. “With any investment, I want to know who, what, when, where, and why. SPM has a sound business plan.”
“Warsaw is number one in country,” he said, referring to the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center at the Lundquist College of Business in Eugene. A goal of the Petrones, shared by many, is for that same level of recognition for the UO Portland’s programs. “The Sports Product Management initiative could get us there.”
Like so many Lundquist College students, Petrone admits that he had a mind for business and a heart for sports.
“My passion was sports,” he said. “If I could have had a career in baseball, that would have been it. Obviously it was hugely different then—in the ’60s. I got my general MBA, focusing on finance. We didn’t have centers. We didn’t have internships. I hated accounting, but I understood it.”
“Accounting is really important in life, as it turns out,” he added with characteristic wit. Petrone is former vice-chairman at Wells Fargo and Company and now serves as chairman of Housing Capital Company, which began as a joint venture with, and is now a division of, US Bancorp.
Along with SPM, the Petrones also provided “seed money” for Women in Flight, a program to raise awareness and funds for women’s sports. That program started this June.
“It’s exciting, giving to Women in Flight and Sports Product Management at the same time. Both are entrepreneurial. We wanted to send a message, and it’s a good message: ‘It’s time.’ Both initiatives resonate today.”