The University of Oregon on Tuesday announced a second $500 million gift from Penny and Phil Knight, launching the next phase of its state-of-the-art research campus bearing their names.
With this gift, the University of Oregon’s Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact will further expand its strengths in bioengineering and applied scientific research and training, creating new opportunities for additional students, adding faculty positions and funding a second building.
Launched in 2016 with the first $500 million gift from the Knights, the campus embodies a new paradigm for scientific inquiry that accelerates the cycle of translating scientific discoveries into solutions that create societal impact.
The Knight Campus stands as a prime example of how private philanthropy is redefining the university for generations to come.
“Thanks to the inspiration of our donors, led by the magnificent and record-breaking gifts of Penny and Phil Knight, and the passion of our faculty to make the world a better place, the Knight Campus has forever transformed the University of Oregon and the state of Oregon,” said Michael H. Schill, University of Oregon president and professor of law. “The work that will take place at the Knight Campus will improve people’s lives directly through innovative treatments and devices, and indirectly through company formation, jobs and economic development.”
“This second $500 million gift accelerates our drive to greater heights of excellence, forging partnerships with other great universities, and creating incredible opportunities for students,” Schill said. “It further secures our position as a global university, a destination for discovery, a hub of innovation, and a place of progress and answers. At the same time, equity is built into our graduate programs and who we will hire. Words cannot adequately express our gratitude for the Knights’ faith in the University of Oregon, so we will need to demonstrate our thanks through the pace and passion of our work.”
The new gift is an overwhelming vote of confidence in what the Knight Campus has already been able to achieve in less than five years, according to Robert E. Guldberg, vice president and Robert and Leona DeArmond executive director of the Knight Campus.
“The combination of engineering, science, business and medicine is where the magic happens, and that’s what we are already witnessing at the Knight Campus. This gift allows us to achieve our larger vision in a very compressed timeline. What would take other institutions decades to achieve is happening here in just a matter of years,” said Guldberg. “Our goal is to dramatically shorten the timeline between discovery and societal impact through world-class research, training and entrepreneurship in a nimble scientific enterprise. The vision of a campus focused on science that impacts society is resonating with so many people. We are incredibly grateful to the Knights for their unbelievable support to continue the momentum towards that vision.”
The first phase of the Knight Campus is already attracting top scientists, physicians, and engineers who are leading innovations and creating important public-private partnerships.
First-of-their-kind technologies created by Knight Campus faculty have established high-resolution 3D-printing methods with the potential to make advanced medical implants.
These versatile materials have potential applications throughout the body, such as artificial blood vessels and dental implants, bone and tendon repairs, and nerve regeneration.
The $500 million gift announced today enables the Knight Campus to shift into phase two of its planning process, which includes a second building for research and innovation.
The current plan is for a 175,000-square-foot, multi-story bioengineering and applied science research building to support expanded research programs and facilities.
The second building is slated to be built north of the first Knight Campus building, on two acres along Riverfront Research Parkway.
It will create new core research facilities and flexible lab spaces that support bioengineering and applied science research. Portland-based ZGF Architects has been selected for programming and concept design services.
In addition to funding design and construction, the gift will support faculty, academic and innovation programming, as well as support operations through an endowment.
The next phase calls for 14 to 16 additional faculty members and their teams in bioengineering, regenerative medicine, biomedical data science, and other applied interdisciplinary sciences to lead research programs, bringing the total number of Knight Campus tenure-related faculty members to 30.