When business school alumnus Dave Petrone, M.B.A. '68, and his wife Nancy endowed the James H. Warsaw Sports Marketing Center with a challenge gift of $600,000, they received a standing ovation from M.B.A students during Homecoming Weekend 2004 at the University of Oregon.
That enthusiastic response underscored the significance of the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center to students and their appreciation for the gift.
According to Akash Jain, the NBA's Manager of Business Development for Global Merchandising and the 2004 Lundquist M.B.A. graduate who presented the case for support to Dave and Nancy Petrone, the donation is significant because "it is vital for its future and will help develop the leaders of tomorrow in the ultra-competitive sports business industry."
Petrone, who received his undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Oregon in '66 and an MBA in '68, is chairman of Housing Capital Company, a joint venture with US Bancorp that he began with a business partner. Located in San Mateo, CA, the company lends developers money for residential housing. Prior to starting Housing Capital, Petrone was vice-chairman at Wells Fargo and Company in San Francisco for 19 years.
In addition to his and his wife Nancy's personal gifts to UO's academics and athletics over the years, between 1992 and 1999, Petrone served as volunteer chairman for UO's Oregon Campaign, which raised $255 million.
Easily approachable and just as likeable, Petrone has an altruistic stance on life.
"For Nancy and me," he explained, "it's all about the people."
Growing up in southern California, Petrone fondly recalled the close relationship he shared with his parents Vic and Jean Petrone.
"I had great parents," he flat-out stated. "My parents have always been my models for life."
His father, a toy representative by trade, often took his family with him on sales trips. Three of those trips brought the family through Eugene where the younger Petrone was introduced to the beauty of the University of Oregon campus laden with lush and well-manicured grounds. Those first memories of his introduction to the UO have stayed with him all these years.
When it came time for college, Petrone considered two schools: the University of Oregon and UCLA. Petrone said his father, whom he respected immensely, suggested that he consider the size of each university; realizing his son would be happier at the UO rather than a big and massive school atmosphere. Looking back on his college years, Petrone said he is glad he heeded his father's recommendation.
Arriving at the UO, Petrone joined Theta Chi Fraternity which became a grounding force on campus for him because of the bonding between the fraternity brothers. Now forty years later, those fraternity brothers have remained "lifetime friends, close friends, with one another--both husbands and wives" Petrone said and they still get together as often as possible.
Perhaps, in part because of his upbringing, where his dad taught him not to think about himself but instead, "go out and do something for someone else" and in part because of the sharing camaraderie Petrone found in his fraternity brothers, Petrone discovered life's greatest gift is in giving to others.
"It's about doing for others," he said, pausing to emphasize, "doing charitable things."