Frohnmayer on UO: 'A different way of looking at ourselves caught on'

Frohnmayer on UO: 'A different way of looking at ourselves caught on'

Part 2 of this KVAL News special report airs will recap Dave Frohnmayer's years as Oregon attorney general, his run for governor and his family's fight against Fanconi Anemia. The story airs at 6 p.m. Thursday on KVAL News.

EUGENE, Ore. - In May 1994, a new president took the helm at the University of Oregon. 

Fast forward now to 2009.

It's hard to believe, but it's packing time.

"It's 15 years worth of accumulation that I've got to work my way through," said Dave Frohnmayer, president of the University of Oregon.

One of the longest retirement announcements in Oregon history is about to come to a close. Frohnmayer, who announced his retirement in April 2008, is packing his boxes and will step down at the end of June.
Frohnmayer leaves the UO on June 30, capping a long and eventuful run as UO president. His time at the helm began with the Ducks' improbable trip to the Rose Bowl that became a launch pad for so much to come.

"A different way of looking at ourselves caught on," Frohnmayer said, "and that has had a lot to do in funny but important ways to the successes we've had academically, scientifically."

Success was more elusive with the Oregon Legislature and money for higher education.

Today, state funding only makes up 12 percent of the total budget to run the UO campus.

"I know that statistic actually shocks members of the larger public," Frohnmayer said, "but they should know that."

So Frohnmayer launched Campaign Oregon, an 8-year fundraising campaign.

Over 90,000 donors contributed shattered the $600 million goal.  

The campaign, which concluded at the end of last year, raised $850 million for UO campus projects. Frohnmayer has also had a hand in raising $1 billion in private donations since 1994.

Frohnmayer calls launching Campaign Oregon his best decision. 

His worst decision?

Frohnmayer said the school's brief connection in 2000 with the Worker's Rights Consortium, which alleged shoemaker Nike exploited workers at overseas factories.

"I think most thoughtful people believe it was a mistake," he said. "The buck stops with me."

The donation bucks stopped flowing from Nike co-founder Phil Knight until the UO cut ties with the WRC.

Despite the many challenges ahead, Frohnmayer remains the ultimate Duck.

"This is a university of overachievers, and I'm really proud to be associated with it," says Frohnmayer.

New president Richard Lariviere takes over on July 1.