Who you need to know in Eugene

Oregon Daily Emerald

 This former University of Kansas provost was selected last year by a search committee to become the 16th University of Oregon president. Lariviere is a Chicago native who grew up in Iowa, attending the University of Iowa as an undergraduate and studying Jewish and Hindu traditions en route to obtaining a religious studies degree. He then attended graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania, focusing on Indian studies. Lariviere’s international ties are far-reaching: he is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a member of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain, and a life member of the American Oriental Society. After graduating from Penn, Lariviere won a National Endowment for the Humanities grant that supported him for four years in Europe. He has taught Sanskrit and religious cultures at the University of Iowa; spent 24 years at the University of Texas at Austin, including seven as dean of its College of Liberal Arts; and acted as Kansas provost. Lariviere says his experiences have impacted his leadership. “I guess I never see any question or issue in a narrow context,” he said. “I always think of these things in terms of how it will play out in a bigger audience, in a bigger world.”


 Dave Frohnmayer served as the 15th president of the University of Oregon, beginning in 1994 and retiring this June. Frohnmayer’s tenure was marked by unprecedented campus expansion and fundraising. From 2001 to 2008, Frohnmayer spearheaded Campaign Oregon, which raised $853 million in private donations — the largest philanthropic effort in state history. He oversaw such building projects as the Lillis Business Complex, the planning of PK Park and Matthew Knight Arena and the renovation of Autzen Stadium, among many others. Before becoming president, Frohnmayer was dean of the law school. He will continue to teach law classes, as well as a popular leadership seminar for freshmen. Frohnmayer was also involved in Oregon politics before coming the University. He served three terms in the Oregon House of Representatives and three terms as Oregon attorney general. The former president is still on the payroll, and what part he will play in the coming year remains to be seen.


Phil Knight’s contribution to the University can be seen on the jerseys of the athletic teams and in the structures towering over Franklin Avenue. Knight, a Portland native, came to the University to run for its track team under coach Bill Bowerman. Knight graduated in 1959 with a degree in business administration and went on to obtain his MBA from Stanford University in 1962. Knight returned to Eugene to found Blue Ribbon Sports, Inc. with Bowerman, and by 1972, Blue Ribbon Sports was renamed Nike, Inc. Having retired from the CEO position at Nike in November 2004, Knight continues to serves as the company’s chairman. Knight has long been followed by speculation that the size of his multimillion dollar donations grants him special influence at the University.


The University of Oregon Foundation is a private, nonprofit corporation, responsible for administering the thousands of private gifts donated annually to the University of Oregon. Paul Weinhold is the new president and CEO of this foundation. Weinhold comes to the Foundation from Wells Fargo Insurance Services, where he was managing director since fall 2006. Weinhold is a University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1986. The Foundation receives, invests, and distributes private gifts, funding student scholarships, faculty support, academic programs, and building improvements.
Editor’s note: Paul Weinhold is the brother of Emerald Publisher Kellee Weinhold.


One of Oregon’s five Congressmen, Democrat Peter DeFazio is well-known in Oregon politics. He has served since 1987 from a district that includes Eugene, Springfield and part of Corvallis, making him Oregon’s longest-serving congressman. He serves on a number of committees, including the House Committee for Homeland Security, the House Natural Resources Committee and the Management, Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee. DeFazio has a unique view on pay raises, refusing to accept congressional pay raises while the federal government is deficit spending and has turned his pay raises into scholarships at Oregon’s five southwestern community colleges. He is regarded as one of Congress’ more liberal members. It is rumored that DeFazio may be resigning his position as congressman to run for governor later this year.


Springfield’s Republican mayor is seeking DeFazio’s congressional seat in the 2010 election. The issues he wishes to address are those of unemployment, rising health care costs and shrinking retirement accounts. Leiken points to his mayoral successes as reason for his confidence in running for congress. When he declared his intention to run, the popular mayor’s candidacy was viewed as a coup by Republicans, perhaps in recognition of the possibility that DeFazio could leave the seat open by running for governor. However, a dispute over a $2,000 campaign transaction stirred controversy in his campaign, spurring a formal complaint by the Democratic Party.


Kitty Piercy has been Eugene’s mayor since 2005, and is now in her second term. Known for leading the community in sustainability and climate change initiatives, Democrat Piercy spearheaded the Mayor’s Carbon Challenge, a program challenging community members to cut back on their carbon outputs at home and around the city. Challenge participants have thus far have had a total estimated impact of reducing 469,318 kg of carbon. Along with environmental efforts, Piercy has a strong commitment to human rights and hosts a monthly “one-on-one” discussion session for the public in different neighborhoods. In the coming year, Piercy plans to continue growing her sustainability projects and encourage the city to join her carbon-cutting challenge.


Pete Sorenson is the chairperson of the Lane County Board of Commissioners. He has been a member of the board since 1997, only slightly interrupted by his unsuccessful 2006 race against Ted Kulongoski for governor, and was elected as chairperson in 2009. This summer Sorenson, a Democrat, has been working with the commissioners to replace former Sen. Vicki Walker with Rep. Chris Edwards for the rest of the Senate term. In addition, he has been working with Food For Lane County’s free Summer Food Service Program to provide meals to low-income families and children.


A self-described “livability extremist focused on the sports-spending arms race,” Zach Vishanoff is a local activist who opposes the expansion of the University of Oregon campus, particularly in the Fairmount neighborhood. He is also exceptionally critical of the University’s close relationship with Nike and Phil Knight. He was spurred to action when he noticed the University had started selling off and demolishing many of the old houses it owned around Moss Street. He claims the University is using the property as a land bank to secure private donations — what he calls “the Moss Street conspiracy.” Vishanoff regularly attends city and University public meetings. He also creates anti-Nike flyers and apparel. Vishanoff is a
former University student.

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