ART DeMURO began his career teaching at the high school level, but shortly after, he decided to turn to saving history, not teaching it. In 1991 he founded Venerable Properties in Portland, a company which sought to preserve Oregon’s history and heritage through revitalization and redevelopment of commercial real estate. One of Art’s proudest projects was the successful redevelopment of the White Stag Block in Old Town Chinatown Portland - home to the University of Oregon in Portland.
In early 2012, Mr. DeMuro made generous gifts to advance the UO’s Historic Preservation Program, the only program of its kind in the state of Oregon. It is a transformative gift that will forever alter the trajectory of the UO’s small, but highly regarded program.
Tragically, Art DeMuro passed away on September 8, 2012 at age 57 after a brief battle with cancer. Art’s passing has left a significant hole in Oregon’s development and preservation community. His visionary leadership and generosity toward the UO makes him a perfect recipient for a 2013 Pioneer Award.
CHARLES and GWENDOLYN LILLIS are loyal Ducks, whose tremendous success in their careers has allowed them to support the UO through their philanthropy, as well as their time and expertise.
Gwendolyn Lillis has been a UO Foundation trustee since 2003, and served as the board chair from 2008-2009. She is a former member of the Lundquist College of Business Advisory Council, UO Provost’s Advisory Council, and the Campaign Leadership Committee. She currently serves as chair of the business school’s Board of Advisors. Charles Lillis was an LCB Alumni Trailblazer, a founding investor of the Lundquist College of Business Finance and Securities Analysis Center (FSAC), and a member of the LCB Dean’s Business Advisory Council. He received the 2008 Business Hall of Fame Award, and is currently a member of the FSAC Advisory Board.
In 2001, Gwendolyn and Charles Lillis were both awarded the UO Presidential Medal. Their leadership gifts made construction of the Lillis Business complex possible, and have served many areas across campus as well. We are honored to include Gwendolyn and Charles among the university’s closest friends. They have served as leaders, teachers, and advocates, influencing countless students and helping shape the UO’s future.