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Here's to Phil Knight

Wednesday, August 02, 2006
So in the local news lately is Phil Knight's $105 million dollar contribution to Stanford University's graduate business program, believed to be one of the largest gifts ever and certainly a tidy sum - even for "Oregon's wealthiest resident". But what gets me is that every time I hear about this on the news or read about it they always mention the University of Oregon:
[T]he latest gift comes as the University of Oregon, his undergraduate alma mater, has been struggling to jump-start its $160 million basketball arena project.
Having graduated from the University of Oregon, I know that Phil Knight has given heavily to various sports programs. But I personally will remember the Knight Library and the Knight Law School (where I worked for a couple years.)

What I'm saying is that, as a student at a public univerisity, I was disgusted by the amount of attention paid to our sports programs - especially at the expense of all the academic and student programs. Brand new VIP box seats for the rich alumni? Check. Grade F prison-and-dorm-use-only meat for the students? Check. The amount of effort spent milking alumi of cash versus the attention given to academic students is embarassing, and one of the primary reasons I'll never give to the school. Do you think they'd spend $160 million dollars on an academic facility?

But Phil Knight can, and the more academic programs he supports the more I respect him. Here's to you, Phil!

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