With spring term behind us and vaccines in the arms of so many, we’re emerging from the pandemic to see each other in-person and to work side-by-side, in many cases as new colleagues. In fact, I’ve felt no greater joy over the last few months than simply to see colleagues in person, to share both work and personal conversations and discuss the ever growing Knight Campus activities.
In what has become a trademark of the Knight Campus, our team members turned challenges of the last 12 months into strengths, deepening relationships and forging new academic, research and entrepreneurial opportunities. Our team’s dedication and hard work has positioned us to build on our considerable momentum into this year and beyond.
We’ve long looked forward to moving into the first building of the Knight Campus, an iconic, best- in-class research and education facility. We didn’t expect to do so under skies darkened by smoke, walking across sidewalks covered with ash amid a global pandemic.
And yet through it all, Knight Campus faculty, staff, and students are breathing life into our amazing building, embodying the spirit of the Knight Campus as they overcome unexpected adversity together.
The following message was emailed to Knight Campus staff, faculty, affiliates and students.
I’m sure the most recent incidents proving that racism continues to exist and tear at the fabric of our society are weighing on all of your minds as much as mine. Like you, I’m feeling anger, sadness, worry for friends, particularly those of color, and many other things but mostly I’m feeling a deep sense of frustration and my thoughts focus on what can I do or we do together to make a difference?
I had a field pass to this year’s UO-OSU game at Autzen Stadium. Since coming to the UO in 2018, I’ve attended a lot of Duck games. But this was the first time I’d felt the hard-hitting rivalry with Oregon State University up-close and personal.
The experience was particularly meaningful given that just days earlier, along with our Beaver colleagues and with those from OHSU, we hosted the inaugural Oregon Bioengineering Symposium in Corvallis. Together, we’re redefining our intra-state relationships.
Since the inception of the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact, UO leaders have talked about how the bridge over Franklin Boulevard creates a physical manifestation of intellectual connections between the Knight Campus and the broader expertise at the UO.
Never before have those connections been more visible, both in construction of the actual bridge and in the research and academic bonds developing rapidly amongst researchers around the UO and the state.
Earlier this month, members of the Board of Trustees walked through the Knight Campus job site, where crews are starting work on the second floor.
My wife, Tina, and I arrived on campus just in time to embrace the beautiful late summer in Oregon. Our time here has been nothing but a pleasure. We’ve been welcomed with open arms in most every interaction we’ve had.
To join the University of Oregon now, when the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact is moving full steam ahead through its formative stages, is, in a word, exhilarating.
As I write, crews are preparing the building site for the Phil and Penny Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact. That we’ve successfully held to such a tight timeline is a credit to our team, including UO folks in design and construction and to our contractors, Hoffman Construction, and the combination of Bora and Ennead architects. To mark the occasion, we’re planning a groundbreaking ceremony later this term. We will share details in Around the O as they are confirmed.
It is hard to believe that it has been nearly a year since we launched the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact. With the hard work of many on campus, I am pleased to say that visions — both of the campus and its programming — are rapidly turning into realities.