Pioneers for Our Time
Friends of the UO gather to honor this year's Pioneer Award recipients
A financier with an Oregon MBA who has used his success in business to help enhance his alma mater.
A high-tech executive who led Intel to Aloha and, as a result, launched Oregon's Silicon Forest.
Not exactly sodbusters' CVs, these. But it's not the trappings of frontier life that characterize the modern-day pioneer. Rather, it's the long view, willingness to take risks, and perseverance that seem to set pioneers apart from ordinary folk. It is those qualities that were celebrated May 18 as alumni and friends of the University of Oregon gathered at The Nines hotel in Portland to honor Keith Thomson and Dave Petrone, recipients of the UO's 2012 Pioneer Award.
Take Thomson. In 1973 he gazed at an undeveloped twenty-five-acre site off the Tualatin Valley Highway and saw dirt, and something more: an opportunity for his employer, fledgling computer chip-maker Intel, to stake a claim and stretch out in a state eager to diversify its economy beyond timber. Today the high-tech industry fuels Oregon's economic engine, and Intel is Oregon's largest private employer.
Along the way, Thomson became the company's public face in the state—"Mr. Oregon," Intel called him. And he took that moniker to heart, providing volunteer leadership to the likes of the Port of Portland, the Oregon Business Council, Oregon Health & Science University, and the UO, as well as chairing Governor Kitzhaber's School Transformation Advisory Council, and—with his wife, Julie '65—giving generously to the UO.
Dave Petrone worked for nineteen years with Wells Fargo & Company, where he was vice chairman, and later as founder and chair of both Housing Capital Company and Petrone, Petri & Company in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Throughout his career, the UO Foundation trustee emeritus and his wife, Nancy, have consistently invested in, among other things, the University of Oregon, changing the face of campus in the process. But his impact on the UO hasn't been limited to bricks and mortar. Petrone's a people person, befriending and often coaching people across the university, from students to administrators. At work he's legendary for his management skills. As Petrone himself puts it, "I see people, I don't see things," adding, "I'm always for the university, trying to make the place better if I can."