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Lorry Lokey Pledges $12.5 Million for University of Oregon Education Building; Business Wire Founder Wants to Honor His Portland Teachers.

EUGENE, Ore. -- San Francisco businessman and philanthropist Lorry Lokey, who says his Portland elementary school teachers started him on the road to success, pledged $10 million to the University of Oregon College of Education for its new building project and then increased his pledge with a $2.5-million challenge gift.

If the college can raise $2.5 million from other donors by June 30, 2007, Lokey will match it, bringing the full amount of his gift to $12.5 million, President Dave Frohnmayer announced today.

"I decided to increase my pledge because the longer it takes to raise the money, the more expensive the project will be," said Lokey. "I hope the challenge will spur other donors to step forward."

Lokey's gift, added to the matching funds from other donors, would complete the financing for the $48 million project. "I am overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness of Mr. Lokey, and I want to thank him deeply for this gift," said Michael Bullis, interim dean of the College of Education.

The gift is the third significant donation Lokey has made to the university in the past 18 months.

"I can think of no better way to honor one's teachers than to help provide a wonderful new facility for training future teachers," said Frohnmayer. "Lorry Lokey doesn't just talk about the value of education. He demonstrates it again and again with his remarkable support of schools and universities."

Bullis said Lokey's gifts, combined with others including a $10-million lead gift from the HEDCO Foundation, provide the necessary match for the $19.4 million in state bonding authority introduced by Gov. Ted Kulongoski and approved by the Oregon Legislature for the project last year. "Because of Mr. Lokey's timely donation, we will be able to move forward with our plans to start construction in the summer of 2007 and have the new complex ready for the 2009-2010 school year," Bullis said.

Kulongoski also praised Lokey for his generosity. "Education is the key to improving Oregon's economy and maintaining our quality of life," the governor said. "That is why, during the last legislative session, I pushed for the largest state capital construction investment in University of Oregon history, which included the new education complex. I'm pleased to welcome Mr. Lokey as a partner in moving our education system forward to ensure all Oregonians have access to a quality education."

"Where would any of us be if we did not have good teachers to inspire us?" Lokey asked. "I credit my elementary school, Alameda School in Portland, as the starting point for my success. I would not have made it without those teachers. That is why I wanted to support education in Oregon by contributing to an updated education building."

Lokey's gift brings the university's current fundraising initiative, Campaign Oregon: Transforming Lives, to a total of $396.6 million toward the goal of $600 million. The campaign, which began in 2001 and ends in 2008, is collecting private gifts for student scholarships, faculty support, academic programs, and new campus facilities.

The new College of Education complex will include 100,000 square feet of new teaching and research space in the HEDCO Education Building, to be constructed near the current college site, and renovation of existing space. The HEDCO building was named for a California-based foundation headed by College of Education alumna Dody Jernstedt that contributed $10 million to the project in 2004.

The complex will feature specialized teaching spaces for math, science, and language methods, a teaching practice studio, an instructional design studio and a curriculum resource library. The project will also include integrated clinic facilities for the college's three clinical programs -- communication disorders and sciences, marriage and family therapy and counseling psychology.

The new complex will help the college better serve its more than 1,500 students, an enrollment that has tripled in the past decade. It will also bring together a faculty that has been scattered among old university buildings, old houses, trailers, and rented space around Eugene.

The University of Oregon College of Education has consistently been ranked as one of the top public education colleges in the nation with one of the most productive educational research faculties in terms of attracting outside grants.

"To be able to have a building that rivals our reputation is paramount," says Colleen Donnelly, a 1972 education graduate, retired Eugene kindergarten teacher, and member of the college's Dean's Advancement Council. "When someone like Lorry Lokey sees our needs and buys into our vision, it's wonderful."

Before the $12.5 million gift announced today, Lokey gave $4 million to the university's School of Music and Dance for its building and expansion project and $4.5 million for the university's School of Journalism and Communication's new Portland program.

Lokey is the founder and chairman of Business Wire, a leading global distributor of corporate news headquartered in San Francisco. The company was purchased in January by Berkshire Hathaway, the international business conglomerate headed by billionaire Warren Buffett.


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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Mar 1, 2006
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