Don Tykeson, UO alumnus and fierce supporter, dies at 90

The RG has his obit here. I only met him once, at the Lariviere firing meeting in Portland. He was furious at Pernsteiner, Kitzhaber, and the OUS board. Here’s his op-ed from the Oregonian, published just before that meeting:

On Monday, the State Board of Higher Education will meet to discuss the fate of University of Oregon President Richard Lariviere and, by extension, the future of higher education in Oregon. It is a defining moment for Oregon — a Rose Bowl of policy with far, far higher stakes. Nothing less than Oregon’s children, Oregon’s economy and Oregon’s destiny are on the line.

… Let’s face it: The old way isn’t working anymore. We need a new way. Lariviere proposed one, and for his effort, courage and leadership, he was sacked.

No doubt he ruffled some feathers along the way. That’s what change agents and visionaries do. Surely such extreme punishment exceeds whatever perceived crime he is charged with committing. And make no mistake — the victim here is not Lariviere. He’ll do just fine. The victims are those of us he would leave behind should the board’s decision stand — we who are trying to create jobs, educate our children, grow businesses, make new discoveries and give hope to future generations.

Never in my long life have I seen outrage erupt so swiftly and passionately all across the state. UO students and faculty, who have no representatives on the state board, are mobilizing at an astonishing rate, especially considering that the announcement was made just before the Thanksgiving holiday.

At best the board’s decision is exceedingly controversial. Worse, in my view, it is tragically misguided. It is still not too late to rescind this action and halt the backlash accruing on campus and across this state. Certainly cool minds can come up with a plan that all can embrace and permit us to move forward without such a drastic outcome.

I urge the board to use the skills its very institutions teach — open inquiry, challenging assumptions and creative thinking — to support UO’s quest to save itself and, in so doing, save higher education.

Don Tykeson lives in Eugene.

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2 Responses to Don Tykeson, UO alumnus and fierce supporter, dies at 90

  1. Oldtimer says:

    Tykeson’s influence is felt across campus in ways not well known. For example, his Tykeson endowment for the CAS deanship is aimed at providing seed funds for innovative ideas and programs. Funds have been used in the startups of the marine biology major, human physiology, and environmental studies — to mention a few. Our campus will miss Don, but his legacy remains.

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  2. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    UOM asked elsewhere about how to foster intellectual diversity. In connection with philanthropy, here’s a big move at Johns Hopkins:

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