Phil Knight Science Center: Nike Co-Founder Gives $500M To UO


Phil Knight‘s donation to the science center at the University of Oregon will help establish a new campus. This week, the co-founder and chairman of Nike, Inc. and his wife, Penny, made history again.

Knight donated the substantial amount of $500 million to the University of Oregon. In 2006, Mr. Knight, whose fortune is estimated at around $24.3 billion, gave $400 million to Stanford’s new Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program.

At the time it was the biggest donation ever made by an individual – that is until this week. The billionaire attended both schools – he was a track star under coach Bill Bowerman at the University of Oregon and the pair later co-founded Nike. Knight graduated from Stanford Graduate School of Business.

In a statement issued by the University of Oregon, it was revealed that the half billion dollars will be used to construct three new buildings. One of the buildings will be given the name – the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact. The Knight Campus will welcome scientists and be used by students taking part in undergraduate and graduate programs.

Experts predict the new campus sitting on Franklin Boulevard “will drive $80 million in annual economic activity with 750 family-wage jobs once it’s fully operational.” Phil Knight said in a news release:

“In an age of declining public support for scientific research generally and declining public higher education support specifically, Penny and I are delighted to contribute to these critically important areas.”

It went on to say:

“While not without risk, we believe the expected societal returns from such investments are high. And here at home in Oregon, we believe the potential to arm our talented young people with the skills and tools they will need to have a lasting impact on the world and to pursue rewarding careers makes such investments essential.”

People at UO called the donation a “transformational gift.”


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