New gifts keep alumni center project on track

EUGENE, Ore. -- (March 12, 2009)-A total of $3 million in new gifts will keep the University of Oregon's Ford Alumni Center project on track to start construction next winter, President Dave Frohnmayer announced today.

The new gifts bring the project's fundraising campaign to the three-quarter mark, with $17.5 million raised toward the $25 million goal. The University of Oregon is also seeking authority from the Oregon Legislature to sell up to $10 million in state revenue bonds to help complete the project.

The UO Alumni Association (UOAA) Board of Directors voted to commit $2 million to the project from the association's endowment ($1 million now and $1 million at start of construction), and the Giustina family of Eugene has added $1 million to an earlier gift of $2.5 million. In honor of the family's generosity, the university will name the center's ballroom for Lee Barlow Giustina (1945 graduate), founder of Lee World Travel agency in Eugene and wife of Ehrman Giustina (1942), longtime Eugene timber company owner.

"Thanks to the Alumni Association Board of Directors, the Giustina family and many other donors, this project is gaining sufficient momentum to start construction next year," Frohnmayer said. "We are here because of more than a decade of leadership and stewardship of this project by members of the alumni board. I am most grateful for their perseverance in making the project happen."

"The Giustina family has invested early and often in their community, their state and their university," Frohnmayer said. "I am delighted that the family name will be associated with the alumni center."

The center, to be built on the southwest corner of the new Matthew Knight Arena site off Franklin Boulevard, will be called the Cheryl Ramberg Ford and Allyn Ford Alumni Center in recognition of a $5 million lead gift from the Fords announced in 2006.

The Ford Alumni Center will be part of the new east gateway to campus and will function as a welcome center for prospective students, returning alumni and other visitors to campus. Its location next to the arena makes the project fundraising timeline clear and urgent, said Frohnmayer. Maximizing both projects' construction schedules and related cost-sharing will necessitate raising the rest of the $25 million goal by late 2009.

More than 150 UO alumni and friends have donated to the project. A new parking garage, to be located below the alumni center and the arena, is currently under construction.

The 60,000 square-foot center will provide event and gathering space for alumni, students, faculty, staff and members of the community. A lobby and lounge, along with conference rooms and multi-purpose gathering spaces, as well as office space for university staff will occupy the facility.

Portland, Ore.-based Opsis Architecture is serving as the alumni center's architect of record and interior architect. TVA Architects Inc., also based in Portland, is the alumni center's building architect, as well as the design architect of the new adjacent basketball arena.

A hallmark of the project will be interactive multimedia installations to engage visitors and tell the University of Oregon story. The university has contracted with Second Story, a Portland-based firm that specializes in creating a unique, interactive media experience.

"The Ford Alumni Center is the embodiment of what we think the UO Alumni Association stands for in the minds of Ducks around the world," said UOAA Board President Corey duBrowa (1988). "It will form a gateway between the campus, our alumni and the broader community at large, establishing a lifelong connection between the student experiences we've all had during our time in Eugene and how alumni can extend that into the world beyond the borders of the campus."

About the UOAA
The University of Oregon Alumni Association has a membership of 18,000 and serves as a liaison between the university and its more than 155,000 living alumni around the world. Launched in 1879 with five alumni, the UOAA is proud of its long history of keeping alumni connected to the university and offering alumni a wide array of services, from professional networking and alumni mentoring to educational travel. For information, visit

About the University of Oregon
The University of Oregon is a world-class teaching and research institution and Oregon's flagship public university. The UO is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), an organization made up of the 62 leading public and private research institutions in the United States and Canada. The University of Oregon is one of only two AAU members in the Pacific Northwest.

Contact: Julie Brown, 541-346-3185,