Though much has changed since Doug McKay graduated with a business administration degree from the University of Oregon in 1959, some institutions remain.
The Air Force ROTC, where McKay gained leadership skills for his time piloting B-52s, and the University of Oregon Delta Tau Delta Fraternity house—which he fought to save when student membership waned—are two examples.
Also unchanged are the principles of running a community-oriented, family business.
His parents, Miles and Eleanor McKay, converted a piece of family farmland off Coburg Road in Eugene into a commercial strip mall in the mid-1960s.
“l got a lot of guidance from the first generation, and now plan to pass that onto the next one,” Doug McKay said. In 2007, he and his daughters, Amy Romero and Tracie Shojai, formed their own company, McKay Commercial Properties, which continues to invest in and manage commercial and industrial projects. Shojai and her husband then started their own business in property management and developed and own Rain Northwest restaurant in their West 11th Shopping Center.
McKay recently honored the Lundquist College of Business with a gift supporting faculty excellence—a key priority for both President Michael Schill and Dean Sarah E. Nutter—which McKay sees as a long-term investment in the college overall. A portion of the gift also went to another passion, Oregon Athletics.
He said he is also excited by the college’s immersive, hands-on entrepreneurship program because often one must know how to do a little bit of everything in the modern business place.
“When I was going to school, the focus was primarily on how to be successful in a specific role in a large corporation,” he said. “Now, the focus is on being more entrepreneurial. I think this evolution benefits the students even more.”
McKay said he enjoys keeping up with campus happenings and, particularly, likes to support highly interdisciplinary projects, such as the Sustainable Cities Initiative, a cross-disciplinary partnership at the University of Oregon that promotes education, service, public outreach, and research on the design and development of sustainable cities.
An interest in building better makes sense. McKay Commercial Properties owns and developed the Slocum Center for Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, which won a gold award issued by LEED Green Building Council and the 2010 Better Bricks Award for green building practices from the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance. Prior to forming his own company, McKay was instrumental in the development of Oakway Center—now a major upscale shopping hub for Eugene residents and visitors.
Though he still makes it into the office, McKay’s focus these days is on giving back to the community that helped make him a success, serving on the University of Oregon Foundation Board of Trustees and other charitable organizations.
“Right now we are working hard to upgrade faculty and research capabilities all over, from the Lundquist College to the brand new campus across Franklin Boulevard,” McKay said, referring to the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact.
This most recent gift to faculty is one of McKay’s many to the UO Lundquist College. In 2010, McKay honored his late parents Miles and Eleanor by funding the Lundquist College of Business technology center in their name. He then funded a technology classroom at the Lundquist College as a tribute to his late wife Carol, whom he met while stationed at Loring Air Force Base in Caribou, Maine.
—AnneMarie Knepper-Sjoblom ’05, Lundquist College Communications