UO’s financial and governance history with the state
February 14, 1859: The act of Congress admitting Oregon into the union established that land would be set apart and reserved for the use and support of a state university. The State Legislature agreed to this and other propositions offered by Congress on June 3, 1859.
October 12, 1872: The University of Oregon was established by an act of the Oregon State Legislature despite funding concerns. Area residents struggled to help finance the institution, holding numerous fundraising events such as strawberry festivals, church socials, and produce sales. Lane County citizens raised an astounding $27,500 to buy seventeen acres of land and build Deady Hall. Since then, the donation of private gifts has played an essential role in the growth of the university.
1874: The deadline for the Act that established the university loomed, but construction was not complete due to lack of funding. The Legislature voted 16-11 in favor of granting more time to finish Deady Hall, but did not grant any additional money.
October 1876: The doors to the UO officially opened in 1876 with Deady Hall as the sole building. The first year’s enrollment was composed of 155 students taught by five faculty members. The first graduating class was in 1878, graduating five students.
1881: The UO was nearly closed due to a debt of $8,182. Henry Villard donated $7,000 toward the payment of the debt. The faculty took a 25 percent salary reduction.
1885: The university received its first state appropriation, $30,000, from the Legislature.
1901: The Legislature increased the university’s financial support to $47,500.
1913: A plan to consolidate the UO with Oregon Agricultural College was defeated.
1922: The U of O Alumni Holding Company was established—an organization devoted entirely to receiving and administering private gifts for the university. (Known today as the UO Foundation, it has since become an independent, nonprofit corporation, managing more than $500 million in assets.)
1929: The Legislature established the Oregon State Board of Higher Education to provide oversight to the established universities and to eliminate unnecessary duplication. It took nearly two years for the board to study curricula and reorganize a unified structure of higher education in Oregon. The task was made even more difficult when the Great Depression brought about postponed building maintenance, as well as salary reductions and layoffs off for faculty and staff members.
1931: The State Board of Higher Education hired the system’s first chancellor and effectively began to administer the Legislature’s vision for a unified Oregon State System of Higher Education.
1932: The Zorn-Macpherson Bill proposed that the University of Oregon and Oregon State College be merged into one university. The measure was referred to the voters and lost in a landslide vote of over six to one.
1960–69: Overall enrollment at the UO increased by more than 70 percent during the 1960s, with graduate student enrollment quadrupling. The university emerged as a star player nationally.
1969: The University of Oregon was admitted into the exclusive membership of the Association of American Universities, an organization of leading research universities devoted to maintaining a strong system of academic research and education. The AAU currently consists of sixty-three universities in the U.S., both public and private, and two universities in Canada. The UO is one of only two AAU universities in the Pacific Northwest.
November 1987: University of Oregon President Paul Olum is “retired” by the State Board of Higher Education. Olum was seen as a president who advanced the University of Oregon’s excellence and sought greater autonomy from the state of Oregon. Within weeks of Olum’s ouster, Chancellor Bud Davis was also asked to resign, which he did, completing his tenure as chancellor in June 1988.
December 1987: The University of Oregon Assembly passes a resolution condemning the termination of University of Oregon President Paul Olum’s contract and calling for the establishment of an independent governing board for the university.
1990: State support for higher education was reduced greatly after the passage of
Measure 5 that limited property taxes statewide. The Oregon Legislature met the requirements to support K–12 education by limiting funding for many programs, but the Oregon University System (OUS) was hit particularly hard. State support for higher education not only failed to grow enough to cover inflation, but also actually declined in nominal dollars. Much of the early 1990s was spent trying to recover from the single largest budget reduction since 1929. The UO faced staggering budget cuts and ultimately eliminated twenty-two degree programs and 200 faculty positions to save some $10 million and cope with the devastating effects of Measure 5.
1999–2001: State support for higher education decreased again as the state faced ongoing general fund revenue shortfalls.
January 1, 2001: With financial support from the state dwindling from 40 percent to 13 percent of the university budget, the UO launched Campaign Oregon with the goal of raising $600 million by December 2008, the greatest philanthropic fundraising campaign in the history of the state of Oregon. (Campaign Oregon far exceeded its original goal by raising $853 million.)
2001–10: State support for higher education was reduced several times as a result of deepening revenue shortfalls. State support declined a further 12 percent after voter defeat of Measure 30 resulted in reduced general fund revenues and appropriations. Legislatively approved budgets permitted large tuition-rate increases to offset declines in general fund support and to allow OUS to address cost increases. A funding increase in 2007 was short-lived when state revenues were severely impacted by the 2008 recession and significant budget rescissions were enacted. As of January 1, 2010, state general fund resources accounted for just 9 percent of the University of Oregon’s budget.
March 1, 2004: Governor Ted Kulongoski changed the make-up of the State Board of Higher Education and set forth new goals for higher education in Oregon through the More, Better, Faster initiative.
September 2005: George Pernsteiner was appointed chancellor of the Oregon University System.
July 1, 2009: Richard W. Lariviere became the sixteenth president of the University of Oregon.
August 25, 2009: Former State Board of Higher Education member John E. Von Schlegell submitted a letter to the governor making the case for change to higher education in Oregon.
September 3, 2009: Governor Ted Kulongoski announced the creation of a “reset” cabinet to make recommendation to restructure state government.
November 2009: Portland State University released its white paper on restructuring its relationship with the state.
November 2009: OUS released the Dave Frohnmayer report commissioned to address governance issues with the state.
May 2010: The University of Oregon issued its white paper, Preserving Our Public Mission through a New Partnership with the State.
July 2010: The Oregon State Board of Higher Education approved the OUS governance proposal, New Compact with the State.
August 2010: The University of Oregon finalized and re-released its white paper, Preserving Our Public Mission through a New Partnership with the State.
August 2010: OUS presented its governance proposal to the Legislative Higher Education Workgroup meeting in Corvallis.
October 2010: President Lariviere presented UO’s New Partnership proposal to the Legislative Higher Education Workgroup meeting in Portland.
November 2010: UO Senate Budget Committee endorses new Partnership plan, and writes that “We believe that this initiative will place the University on the firm ground that is necessary for its future advancement.”
December 2010: Higher Education Workgroup, chaired by State Senator Mark Hass (D-Beaverton), proposes changes to governance of higher education (SB 242).
January 2011: At the request of the UO Foundation, SJR 20 and SB 559 are introduced to refer approval of a public endowment to the voters and to establish the University of Oregon as a public university with a local goernance board.
January 2011: At the request of the Oregon University System, HB 2118 is introduced to change and improve governance of higher education.
January 24, 2011: UO Academic Council issues report on the acadmic implications of the New Partnership Proposal.
February 2011: 76th Oregon Legislature convenes.
February 9, 2011: UO University Senate deliberates formal endorsement of the New Partnership proposals.
February 15, 2011: Business and community leaders, students, educators, parents, and university supporters from throughout the state join UO President Richard Lariviere at the state Capitol to urge legislative support of the New Partnership, SB 559 and SJR 20.
March 1, 2011: SB 559 and SJR 20, the New Partnership legislation receive a public hearing before the Senate Education and Workforce Development Committee. An overflow crowd turns out to support UO President Richard Lariviere and provide public testimony of their own following the President’s briefing to committee members.
March 21, 2011: UO President Richard Lariviere meets with Governor John Kitzhaber to discuss timing of New Partnership proposal and alignment of the New Partnership with Gov. Kitzhaber’s proposal to create the Oregon Education Investment Board, SB 909.
March 29, 2011: Governor John Kitzhaber sends President Richard Lariviere a letter thanking him for his work on higher education restructuring and for his support of the Governor’s proposal. Kitzhaber states that he is pleased that there is alignment between the Governor’s agenda and that of the University of Oregon.
March 29, 2011: UO President Richard Lariviere responds to the Governor’s letter, thanking the Governor for his encouragement to continue advancing the ideas contained in the New Partnership and reiterating the University’s support for the Governor’s higher education reform agenda in 2011.
April 5, 2011: SB 909, Governor Kitzhaber’s proposal for the creation of the Oregon Education Investment Board, receives a public hearing in the Senate Education and Workforce Development Committee.
April 7, 2011: The House Higher Education Sub-committee holds an informational hearing on SB 559 and SJR 20, the New Partnership legislation.
June 9, 2011: UO Day at the Capitol. Advocates meet with fifty-five legislators and policy makers to lobby for passage of SB 909 and SB 242. Advocates met with Governor John Kitzhaber, who then joined UO President Richard Lariviere for a midday reception in the Capitol galleria.
June 17, 2011: SB 242 is passed by the Oregon Senate by a 28-2 margin.
June 20, 2011: The Oregon Senate passes SB 909 on a 21-8 vote.
June 21, 2011: The Oregon House of Representatives passes SB 909 on a vote of 54-5.
June 27, 2011: On a 55-5 vote, SB 242 passes the Oregon House of Representatives.
June 28, 2011: Higher education governance changes become law as SB 909 goes into effect. President Richard Lariviere joined Governor Kitzhaber and other education leaders for a bill signing in the Governor’s ceremonial office.
June 29, 2011: The Oregon Senate votes to concur with House amendments to SB 242, passing the bill and sending it to the Governor for his signature.
July 20, 2011: Governor John Kitzhaber signs SB 242 into law.
August 22, 2011: Governor John Kitzhaber announces his nominations to the Oregon Education Investment Board.
September 9, 2011: UO President Richard Lariviere presents UO proposals for higher education governance and funding reform to the Oregon State Board of Higher Education Governance and Policy Committee.
November 9, 2011: Portland State University circulates a bill draft calling for the establishment of a board focused on Portland State’s Mission.
November 16, 2011: Governor John Kitzhaber writes to the Co-chairs of the Oregon State Board of Higher Education Governance and Policy Committee, urging consideration of local institutional governing boards for universities that want one.
November 17, 2011: The Oregon State Board of Higher Education Governance and Policy Committee discusses the creation of institutional governing boards and releases draft divisional responsibilities.
November 18, 2011: The Oregon Senate confirms Governor John Kitzhaber’s nominees to the Oregon Education Investment Board.
November 28, 2011: The Oregon State Board of Higher Education votes to terminate the contract of UO President Richard Lariviere, without cause. President Lariviere is notified that his last day as 16th president of the University of Oregon will be December 28. Read the president’s statement to the State Board of Higher Education.
November 30, 2011: University of Oregon Statutory Faculty Assembly passes four resolutions including a resolution to create an independent governing board.
December 1, 2011: In a letter to the Oregon Education Investment Board Governor John Kitzhaber provides a charge and lays out a road map for implementation.
December 9, 2011: In a special meeting, the Oregon State Board of Higher Education appoints Dr. Robert Berdahl as interim president of the University of Oregon