“Just Do(nate) It”: Nike Co-Founder Gifts $500M to University of Oregon

October 18, 2016
by Susan Dutca-Lovell
“Just Do(nate) It”: Nike Co-Founder Gifts $500M to University of Oregon

The generous $500 million gift from Phil and Penny Knight to the University of Oregon is the "largest ever for a public flagship institution" and is intended to support and strengthen interdisciplinary scientific research.


With the donation, the university plans to extend its current science campus by 210,000 square feet, with three new research facilities. The initiative is expected to create 30 new positions for research scientists and open 250 graduate and 150 postdoctoral slots.

This won't be the first time the Knights have made such a large contribution. In 2014, they gave more than $300 million to the University of Oregon's athletic department. Also, in February 2016, they announced their plan to donate $400 million to Stanford University's graduate scholar program. Mega-gifts such as these given to Knights' alma maters are not uncommon; however, they are "rare at public universities." While some argue that these donations are simply "gifts from the top 1% to the top 1%," University of Oregon President Michael Schill notes that "more than one-third of Oregon undergraduates are considered low-income." Furthermore, statistics from the White House indicate that only "73% of Oregon students graduated high school last year, one of the lowest graduation rates in the country."

Mr. Knight's states that "collaborative scientific research is a comparative strength at the University of Oregon, and with appropriate support could develop into a major center of excellence and a national treasure." He notes that the lack of funding to basic scientific research programs "threaten to choke off opportunities to enhance standards of living." The University of Oregon hopes to complete and open the new facilities in three years.

Do you think the $500 million donation is a good investment? If you had the resources, how and where would you invest your dollars? Let us know in the comments section below and be sure to check out our extended list of scholarships by state for more opportunities.

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7 Comment(s)

Stephen H.  on  11/14/2016 3:26:17 PM

The One in heaven is neither hot nor cold but perfectly warm. He is in between Hate and Love, the thin line between love and hate.

Hadyn R.  on  11/12/2016 4:39:55 PM

$ 500 million dollars is a good investment. If i were to receive this donation, I would invest all of the money in school. I would invest this pushing myself to take harder college programs and push for a degree in chemical engineering. This is not only the hardest degree to get at CU but can lead me towards a future that i have much desired. I don't want to just go to college just to make more money but to change the world and this starts with a degree that puts me in a leadership position in design thinking. I have pushed for leadership positions in my community and have identified where the problems are, the only thing that i need to push for now is getting money or to a point in power where i'm able to do something about it. Not only is college a step towards my goal but its the only thing that will throw me in that direction and defy the standards that others have all ready set for me.

Montia G.  on  11/8/2016 7:38:15 AM

$500 million dollars is a great investment. If I was chosen for this scholarship I would not have to worry about being in debt or student loans, which is my biggest fear. My parent's income is at the bottom of the barrel and they would not be able to afford my tuition. That amount of money will pay off anything and everything I need for college. I'll be able to pay for classes, books, dorm fee, even if I want to change up a class and learn something new. That money also could roll over into helping out my family. With what I have left can possibly benefit my life and my future.

Angela K.  on  11/1/2016 12:58:55 PM

Having this opportunity to receive this $500,000,000 is amazing. If I were to receive this generous donation it would all be put towards my future education, college. I believe that the youth needs help promoting education because we are the future and in the future being educated is crucial. However, college puts so many students in debt and this makes students stray away from college because nobody wants debt. I think this donation is truly great because it gives us the people a chance to lessen the cost of college.

Omarr M  on  10/23/2016 9:08:29 PM

A $500,000,000 donation is a great investment. As an adult student and a single parent, I find it extremely hard to go through to school and pay for bills. I wish that there was more support for those who come back to school. I was denied so many scholarship because I was not a traditional student. Trying to maintain a house hold while trying to fund your way through college is beyond tough. Due to financial constraints, I can only afford to take 1-2 classes at a time. This makes the traditional 4 year process into a 8 year process. I just wish that we all were eligible for the same scholarships. Age should not disqualify you. Some of us were forced to mature faster than others. Some of us were forced to get a job or two because parents were incarcerated or possibly disabled. That was my case! I had to play the role of a father to my younger siblings so school was not an option. If education was free, just imagine what we could have accomplished. The next Einstein or Issac Newton may be that young man or you woman working two-three jobs and can't afford to attend school. We the People....Need Help!

Peter M  on  10/19/2016 6:39:00 PM

I love the fact that you are looking towards the benefits of lots of kids. If I am able to acquire the money I would put all of it to my college tuition. My parents are two hard working people but lately my dad's business is failing and it is heading on the bring of bankruptcy. I would like to go to college to help my parents so that we don't lose a lot. Please have the chance of reviewing this message and have the heart of helping out.

Lisanu G  on  10/18/2016 6:34:48 PM

First of all giving is very generous thing. If I get money from this scholarship I will spend it in my college tuition. I really want to go to college and my parents work a minimum wage they can't afford college for me. So I have to apply as much as college a cloud in Oder to meet my goal and dream. I will spend is on college and meet my dream as soon as possible god willing

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