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Chuck and Gwen Lillis donate $10M to vulcanology

Diane Dietz has the good news in the RG here.


  1. Dog 07/12/2016

    While this is generally good news, it is one thing to fund one of these areas, it is another thing to get catalytic individuals to come here to drive growth in this area.

    Remember we are competing directly with UW and OSU in this area, both of which have a lot relatively large groups involved in this

    • uomatters Post author | 07/12/2016

      Say what you will, but $10M is a substantial offering to Vulcan. While Neptune was long thought to control earthquakes, recent research has shown that Vulcan’s role is more causal. Those of us in PLC thank the Lillises, and hope that this will help hold off Vulcan’s wrath for at least 10 more years

      • Dog 07/13/2016

        I love white guys and the concept of control and that everything emanates from those Greeks.

        No the real cause of earthquakes is Ruaumoko – just go to New Zealand

  2. Concerned PI 07/12/2016

    This is fantastic news! Funds for basic science, with a translational side on hazards – a great area to invest in for UO. Downward Dog, pretty sure we’ll be able to recruit just fine for this one. Unlike some other academic areas, geography is on our side – the northwest is the place to be to study volcanoes. UW and OSU research just heightens value for the locale.

    • Dog 07/13/2016

      Like I said, this is potentially good news and does offer much promise if we can recruit well. The cluster that I am involved in has had some problems so far in getting individuals to accept offers. Issues of critical mass in an area and appropriate infrastructure are quite real.

      • XDH 07/13/2016

        It would be great if someone did a cluster round-up, based on the ten clusters recommended for funding. I am involved in none of them, but have seen, as Dog put it, a couple of them having difficulty “getting individuals to accept offers”.

        • uomatters Post author | 07/13/2016

          It’s always hard to hire good people.

          • The Dog 07/13/2016

            While its true that this is always difficult, the issue remains is that if our research infrastructure is non-competitive (I believe that we
            have reached that state now – this a major priority for the incoming VPR) then I believe it doubles the difficulty.

            The other thing is UO culture (which I have observed many times) – hiring good people often requires offers that are better compared to
            the peers they will be joining. We tend not to make such offers here.

          • XDH 07/14/2016

            Having been at UO a quarter century now, I disagree that our research infrastructure is non-competitive. Internal support is certainly less than when I joined the UO faculty all those years ago, but then again, areas that merit the (shrinking) internal support have evolved as well. I’ll refrain from specific examples, as such examples on this blog seem to elicit troll comments and highlight divisions between the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities. Bottom line – I am less pessimistic than Dog.

            The other thing I think I’ve observed is that in a number of these attempted hires, the “UO culture” problem is both about the unrealistic financial offer expectations in JH too low start-up packages, as Dog correctly points out) coupled with the unrealistic regard that many colleagues believe themselves up too. “Hey, I’m great, so it must be so; therefore, if I am great, you must want to join the UO faculty!” In the very few examples of successfully hiring mid-level faculty I am familiar with, these hires have worked by getting said potential hire to buy into both how great the UO is AND how much greater we can make it with their presence. The latter part, which requires a LOT work by colleagues, seems to be missing in many cases IMHO.

          • The Dog 07/15/2016

            I would argue that yes 25 years ago our Research Infrastructure was good, the research institutes were strong. The Centers of Excellence campaign was good and things were looking quite positive. But the world does evolve and some Universities can keep up with this evolution better than others. I would argue that, for about the last 10 years, in fact, our research infrastructure has stopped evolving, especially compared to some peers, and of course the cost of good research infrastructure inflates a high rate (probably 8-12 % based on various estimates and materials).

            So in the year 2016, I do maintain that we are not competitive or at least no where near as competitive as we were in the 1980s and 1990s.

            Upgrading facilities such as labs in Pacific hall and the third floor
            of Klamath are much welcome but seriously this should have been done at least 10 years ago..

          • XDH 07/16/2016

            On this we both can agree – the renovations of the 2nd/3rd floors of both Pacific and Klamath are both LONG overdue!

  3. Oryx 07/12/2016

    Agreed that this is fantastic on all levels. It’s great to see that donors are pushing funds into areas that are scientifically important, and that build on UO strengths.

  4. Anonymous 07/13/2016

    Great news. Generosity like this is great leadership..

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