Three agents of progress, two of whom earned MBA degrees with the Lundquist College of Business, were honored May 17 with University of Oregon Pioneer Awards at the Portland Art Museum in Portland, Oregon.
As this year’s Pioneer Awardees, Dr. Joseph E. Robertson, Jr., MBA ’97, and Amy Kari ’82 and Ross Kari ’80, MBA ’83, all exemplify the best of volunteerism, philanthropy, and leadership in the state of Oregon.
Robertson earned his MBA at the Oregon Executive MBA, the University of Oregon’s Portland-based program geared to mid- to senior-level professionals, graduating as co-valedictorian of his class. He is described as a transformer of health care in Oregon through his work at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU).
“Joe has had a remarkable impact on OHSU’s stature both in the state and nationally,” said Dr. Brian Druker, director of the Knight Cancer Institute at OHSU.
In fact, OHSU has become a globally recognized entity under Robertson’s leadership, said Sandra McDonough, president and CEO of the Portland Business Alliance.
Though Robertson will retire from the OHSU presidency at the end of the current academic year, he plans to remain at OHSU as a part-time faculty member.
Amy Kari earned her bachelor of arts in art history at the University of Oregon while her husband Ross Kari earned his is mathematics, followed by an MBA with a concentration in finance.
Both have a passion for helping students. Prior to retirement, Amy Kari conducted educational research to improve math skills for at-risk students, even speaking internationally on the subject.
She is a current member of the College of Education Advisory Council, the Clark Honors College Advisory Council, and the Student Athlete Mentor Board. Amy previously served on the UO Foundation Board of Trustees.
“She is amazing,” said Randy Kamphaus, dean of the UO College of Education. “She inspires me to do better work.”
Ross Kari enjoyed a long career with Wells Fargo from 1983 to 2001, rising from senior financial analyst to executive vice president and chief financial officer. He has also served in c-level positions at myCFO, Inc.; Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco; Safeco Corporation; and Fifth Third Bancorp in Cincinnati.
“Ross is our go-to guy,” said Chuck Lillis, chair of the University of Oregon Board of Trustees and a 2013 recipient of the Pioneer Award. “He is extraordinarily valuable to all of us that love the university.”
Kari serves on the University of Oregon Board of Trustees and is a former member of the UO Lundquist College of Business Board of Advisors.
The University of Oregon Pioneer Award was established in 1979 to recognize those rare individuals who have been true agents of progress. Each year, the award is presented to individuals who have been outstanding pioneers in business, philanthropy, communication, politics, and the arts.
Proceeds benefit the Pioneer Awards Presidential Scholarship Endowment at the University of Oregon, enabling the state's brightest students to excel in their pursuit of higher education.
—AnneMarie Knepper ’01 and University Communications