Phil and Penny Knight donate $500M to new UO science campus

(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

EUGENE, Ore. – The University of Oregon announced Monday that Penny and Phil Knight will give $500 million the fund the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact.

“This act of philanthropy from Penny and Phil Knight is breathtaking,” said Michael H. Schill, president and professor of law. “This is a seminal moment for the University of Oregon, an inflection point that will shape the trajectory of the university and this state for the next century and beyond.”

The science campus will be dedicated to fast-track science discoveries, innovations, products or cures that could benefit the local community and the world.

The university said the knight’s gift is the largest ever for a public flagship university.

When the Knight Campus is built, it will consist of three new buildings. It will be located adjacent to the University of Oregon’s science complex

The University of Oregon said the Knight Campus is envisioned as a $1 billion initiative that will be largely donor-funded.

“Thanks to this amazing and generous gift from Penny and Phil, we will aggressively recruit and hire talented new researchers to join our world-class faculty to amplify what we do best—interdisciplinary scientific research,” said Schill. “Equally important, the University of Oregon now has the resources to develop the infrastructure and support networks required to ensure that our best ideas and discoveries are quickly tested, refined, and developed into innovations that improve the human condition.”

The University of Oregon said in a press release the Knight Campus will directly contribute $99.7 million to Oregon’s economy and it will support more than 1,300 jobs.

The UO named biology professor Patrick Phillips acting executive director of the campus.

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