Elisa M. deCastro Hornecker

Portrait of Elisa M. deCastro Honecker, courtesy of University Advancement. 

The Oregon Senate confirmed UO alumna Elisa M. deCastro Hornecker earlier this morning to succeed former “Today” show host Ann Curry on the university’s board of trustees

“Those are some big high-heeled shoes to fill,” Hornecker said of succeeding Curry.

Curry joined the board in 2013 and Hornecker currently sits on the board of trustees for the University of Oregon Foundation, which manages gifts and donations to the university.

“It was a great education into what's happening at the university and the challenges they see with our university, and all public universities,” Hornecker said of her time serving on the UO Foundation’s board.

The chair of the UO’s board of trustees, Chuck Lillis, approached Hornecker to serve on the board after becoming familiar with her work with the UO Foundation.

Hornecker graduated from the UO in 1982 and went on to become Vice President Investment Manager for the Bank of California’s Trust Department in Portland, according to documents submitted to the governor’s office.

Hornecker said her background in business and finance gives her a unique advantage in balancing an often difficult university budget. “I think the importance of [understanding that] you're running a big business and how to do that most effectively and efficiently and economically so we can have great facilities, top-notch faculty, but yet make it accessible to our students within the state.”

When looking into colleges for her children, Hornecker said she reengaged with the university after seeing everything the UO had to offer and said that it inspired her to “become more involved.” Hornecker’s son and husband are both UO alumni and one of her daughters is set to graduate in 2020.

According to her application documents, Hornecker volunteers with organizations around Oregon such as Ninety-Nine Girlfriends — an organization of women in and around Portland that pools their money to give large-impact gifts to community causes.

Hornbecker also served on the board for the Wallace Medical Concern and volunteered in her children’s schools in Portland. She is now a resident writer for her community publication Portland Heights Living Magazine.