Pride and Vanity have built more Hospitals than all the Virtues together.
… First, a disclaimer. The University of Oregon has been fortunate to receive three extremely large donations from generous benefactors during the time I have served as president. Two gifts of $500 million each are from Penny and Phil Knight to create an applied bioengineering research campus. Another gift of more than $425 million is from Steve and Connie Ballmer to establish an innovative institute to fight one of the most important social problems of our time — the behavioral and mental-health crisis among our children. These gifts are transforming the university and enabling us to achieve our missions of teaching, research, and service.
How can one say that the billions of dollars devoted to medical research, student scholarships, and technological innovation by generous and, yes, wealthy people is not something to cheer? While we should all work hard to increase government support for higher education, we cannot and should not for a moment feel guilty for celebrating the philanthropy that enables our universities to grow and flourish. And, perhaps, if we execute well on the big ideas our donors have funded, we can demonstrate to the skeptics that there is no better public investment than higher education.