Director for UO Fund Drive Moves On

The Register Guard (Eugene, OR), November 12, 2008 | Go to article overview

Director for UO Fund Drive Moves On


Byline: Greg Bolt The Register-Guard

Allan Price says he loves asking people for money.

And from all appearances, the people he asks seem to love saying yes. It was Price, after all, who directed the largest philanthropic drive in state history, one that has raised almost $830 million for the University of Oregon.

But after more than seven years helping to raise the UO's national profile and its endowment, Price is leaving the university. After the books close in December on Campaign Oregon, as the UO fund drive is known, Price will leave for a new job in Portland as president of the Oregon Health & Science University Foundation and vice president in charge of OHSU's advancement arm.

He will leave with more than a little regret. "Gratified" is a word he used often on Tuesday when he talked about his time in Eugene and the donors and others he's appreciated.?"A chance to make a difference at an institution like this one is very gratifying," Price said. "I love this place, and I always will."

In his time at the UO, Price, 53, has been a passionate advocate for the school. He's helped bring in some of the biggest gifts in university history, including more than $130 million from retired public relations magnate Lorry Lokey for several projects and more than $25 million from Robert and Beverly Lewis for science buildings and equipment.

During Price's tenure, the UO healed a rift with its largest donor, Phil Knight, setting the stage for the largest single donation in university history. The $100 million that the Nike co-founder, UO graduate and former track athlete gave the athletic department formed the financial backstop the UO needed to launch its long-held plan for a new basketball arena on Franklin Boulevard to replace aging McArthur Court. The planned new pavilion, at $227 million, will be the most expensive college arena ever.

If there was controversy over Price's work, it came from gifts such as that. Although Knight's return to the Ducks fold and his continued largesse probably is due more to work by UO President Dave Frohnmayer and top staff in the athletic department, Price took some heat for what some consider an undue UO emphasis on fundraising for athletics in general and Campaign Oregon in particular.

Price believes those concerns are misplaced. For one thing, he points to the hundreds of millions of dollars given to improve buildings and programs across the academic side of campus, from the library and music school to the art museum and the sciences.

For another thing, he says his job isn't to tell donors what they should give to but connect the people who want to help with the university program that needs their help.

"You're really a matchmaker," Price said of his job. "When you're in my role, what you're simply trying to do is put those two together. When it works right, there's nothing more fun than that."

And it has worked right quite a few times. Price arrived at the UO from Arizona State University not long after the conclusion of the UO's previous fund drive, The Oregon Campaign, which raised what at the time was the state philanthropy record of $255 million.

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