Yesterday we drove about sixty miles south to Eugene, OR to visit the town and the University of Oregon. The school has an enrollment of over 26,500 undergraduates and almost 4,000 graduate students.
Thirteenth Street runs through the middle of the campus and right into downtown Eugene. In the campus, most of it is for pedestrians and bicycle riders only.
The university’s first building, Deady Hall, opened on October 16, 1876, when the University had an enrollment of 177 students. It was originally known as “the building” before being named after Judge Matthew Deady in 1893.
The campus has many colorful flower gardens and art works. In the picture below each small square is a piece of aluminum hanging on a hinge at it’s top. As the wind blows it appears to wave like a flag.
The campus feels a bit crowded but it does have a number of grassy quad areas.
There is a nice mix of old buildings, such as Deady Hall, and newer buildings like the Lillis Business Complex, built in 2003. The front of this building features photovoltaic cells embedded in the glass, which provide a portion of the building’s energy. In addition, the building, classrooms, and offices were oriented so as to maximize the use of natural light, and all rooms are outfitted with the latest sensor technology to minimize energy usage.
The Oregon Ducks have a very extensive and successful athletic program. If you watched any of the track and field events at the London Olympics you saw many U of O grads on the medal podium. In fact, the US Olympic Trials were held on campus at Hayward Field in June.
Hayward Field is to track and field what Lambeau Field in Green Bay is to the NFL. Outside the main gate is a directional sign post that demonstrates their focus on the Olympics.
Indoor sports are played in a very new arena. The Matthew Knight Arena is a 12,369 seat, multi-purpose arena originally intended to be ready for the start of the 2010–11 basketball season, but instead opened in January of 2011. It is named for chief donor Phil Knight’s son, Matthew Knight, who died at the age of 34 in a scuba diving accident. Knight is the co-founder and chairman of Nike and a graduate of the university.
Both the track and field stadium and the basketball/volleyball arena are impressive and show the popularity of those sports on campus. But as on other campuses, football is king. A bicycle path takes you across the Willamette River, where the football stadium rises up in the distance.
Outside one entrance to the stadium is an interesting art display, twelve Xs facing twelve Os, representing a coach’s graphic of a football play.
On either side of each of the letters is a saying related to football. Most are serious quotations from a famous person. Some have a little humor to them.
Next to the football stadium is PK Park, a baseball stadium that is shared by the university and a minor league team called the Eugene Emeralds, an “A” level farm team of the San Diego Padres.
Midway between Eugene and our home base in Salem is the city of Corvallis, home to Oregon State University. We were not as impressed with this campus as we were with the University of Oregon. Oregon State has about the same enrollment as the University of Oregon but the campus was more spread out and had a set of railroad tracks right down the middle.
As we drove north toward Salem, we went through the town of Monmouth. In the downtown we saw a directional sign to Western Oregon University. Who knew! But since we were on the “college tour” we spent a bit of time riding through that campus.
With an enrollment of a little more than six thousand undergraduates, the school is much smaller than it’s two neighbors to the south, but it has a very nice campus. The Wolves play in the NCAA Division II and the reduction in size of the athletic program is evident when you see the football stadium.
We enjoyed our “college tour” and were impressed by each school. It is interesting to have three universities within thirty miles of each other.