A dream coming true

ALUMNI CENTER UNDER CONSTRUCTION


Photo by Michael McDermott

Cheryl Ramberg Ford leaves her handprints in wet cement while her husband, Allyn, and the Duck wait their turns during a May 21 celebration of the Ford Alumni Center’s construction launch.

 

Before sharing his plans for the university’s future at his May 21 investiture ceremony, University of Oregon President Richard W. Lariviere celebrated progress on a new facility that will help make those plans possible. After decades of research, fundraising, and planning, the final beams of the Cheryl Ramberg Ford and Allyn Ford Alumni Center are in place.

Slated for completion next May, the four-story, 60,000-square-foot center is being built just west of the Matthew Knight Arena. The $32.5 million project will be funded by private gifts and state bonds.

“I’ve seen the remarkable things an alumni center can accomplish, and we’re going even further by making the Ford Alumni Center a place for all Ducks—former and future—to find meaningful connections to the university,” said Lariviere to a group of alumni, friends, and staff members gathered near the construction site.

The Ford Alumni Center will be the first in the nation to use interactive media to inform and inspire visitors with information about the history of the university and its students and faculty. The university expects to host more than 17,000 visitors at approximately 600 student recruitment and information sessions per year at the new facility. It also will provide offices for the Student Alumni Association, study spaces, and other amenities for students.

“After I graduate this spring, the Ford Center will be the first place I visit when I return to campus,” said Emma Kallaway, ASUO president. “It will mark beginnings and endings for future generations of students. We’re all chapters in the Oregon story.”

With accessible parking, a reception atrium with a fireplace, a library, and a staffed information desk, the Ford Alumni Center will welcome visitors to the UO and provide a central location to gather on campus. It will feature a ballroom, twelve conference rooms, and office space. It will host alumni events, reunions, and board meetings.

“This has been a long time coming,” said Corey duBrowa ’88, president of the UO Alumni Association board.“On behalf of the board, I’d like to express my gratitude to the donors and friends who made this possible.”

The building will also unite the UO Alumni Association, Office of Development, and University of Oregon Foundation staffs under one roof. This arrangement will promote synergy, creativity, and efficiency among staff members working to advance the university.

The university still needs to raise $2.5 million for the project. The Alumni Center will help form a new northeast entrance for the campus along with the Matthew Knight Arena and the John E. Jaqua Academic Center for Student Athletes.

“This investment will yield results for decades to come,” said leadership donor Teri Giustina.

To commemorate the event, leadership donors Cheryl Ramberg Ford and Allyn Ford left their handprints (and the Oregon Duck left his webfoot prints) in wet cement. The prints will be permanently installed in the Alumni Center.

—Ed Dorsch