PORTLAND, Ore.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Future Oregon entrepreneurs will be better prepared to launch a successful business in a global marketplace, thanks to a $5 million gift to the University of Oregon from Columbia Sportswear CEO Tim Boyle and his wife, Mary.
The Boyles’ gift will help the university turn its New Venture Championship (NVC) student business plan competition into the world’s first with an Asian focus and take steps to launch what would be Oregon’s first comprehensive product design initiative.
The gift includes $3.5 million for the New Venture Championship, which is already one of the top three in the country. The funds will be divided between the Lundquist College of Business, which runs the competition, and the School of Journalism and Communication, whose students market the annual contest. The remaining $1.5 million of the gift will go to the School of Architecture and Allied Arts to plan and implement a proposed multi-disciplinary program in product design and material studies.
“The Boyles’ generosity will help our students learn to develop strong collaborative business teams whose visions extend across borders,” said UO President Dave Frohnmayer. “Tim has demonstrated through his own business success the importance of a cooperative and global outlook, and now he and Mary are making it possible for future entrepreneurs to adopt an even broader perspective.”
The gift will enable the Lundquist College to realize its goal of attracting at least half the entrants in the New Venture Championship from Asian countries, said Randy Swangard, managing director of the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship. This will further the Lundquist College’s Engaging China Initiative and the university’s East Asia Initiative—both aimed at increasing students’ cultural literacy, boosting student and faculty exchange programs, and developing the university as a key resource on East Asia for Oregon businesses, government officials, and cultural organizations.
“The state of Oregon has already said that, from a trade business partnership standpoint, China and other Asian countries will become our dominant trade partners in the future,” Swangard said. “What better way to get a sense of these partners than to bring in these student teams from Asia?”
The gift will also help increase the total prize money for the annual competition from the current $70,000 to around $100,000 and will boost marketing efforts to raise global awareness about the competition, Swangard said.
The university started the New Venture Championship in 1992 with three student teams competing for $300 in cash prizes. An initial gift from the Boyles in 2001 helped boost the prize money and the number of entrants and initiated a collaboration between the Lundquist college and the journalism school to market the event.
This year’s competition, being held at the Embassy Suites Hotel in downtown Portland April 12-14, received applications from 50 teams attending 43 different universities. Of the 20 teams selected to compete, four are from East Asian universities. Last year’s winning team was from Mahidol University in Thailand. More than 50 percent of the student business plans presented in past competitions have resulted in the launch of real businesses.
“Our original gift to support the New Venture Championship was a great investment,” said Tim Boyle, a UO journalism graduate. “Students gained more insider knowledge about launching successful ventures, more teams affiliated with the college and participating in the competition evolved into successful business ventures, and the competition itself grew in national stature. This new gift is about leveraging that success to expand NVC and promote further awareness of the event by combining the talents in the business college and journalism school.”
“We are honored and excited that Tim and Mary have chosen to evolve their investment with us,” said Lundquist College of Business Dean James C. Bean. “Their dedication, support, and enthusiasm have a profound impact on the college and the university as we seek to maximize collaborations and better prepare students to be leaders in the global marketplace.”
“This ongoing collaboration with the Lundquist College of Business is extremely valuable to our students, as is our relationship with Tim Boyle,” said Tim Gleason, Edwin L. Artzt Dean of the School of Journalism and Communication. “This recent gift not only strengthens that collaborative relationship but is also a catalyst for change and innovation in our advertising program. We are very grateful to Tim for his ongoing support of NVC and of the school.”
Gleason said the Boyles’ recent gift will further leverage the NVC as a change agent transforming the school’s advertising and public relations programs to meet the challenges of a new world. Funds from the gift will support the school’s continued participation in the NVC.
The proposed new product design initiative in the School of Architecture and Allied Arts will combine courses in humanities, business, art, and architecture with specific coursework in product design. The program will be a collaboration between the school’s department of art and interior architecture program.
“We are excited to move forward establishing an area of study in the arts and design that builds on the expertise of leading Oregon companies like Columbia Sportswear and others and reflects a local and global awareness,” said Frances Bronet, dean of the School of Architecture and Allied Arts. “I am proud of this partnership and grateful to Tim and Mary for their initiating gift. It truly is a story that will transform lives.”
The Boyles’ gift will be counted toward Campaign Oregon: Transforming Lives, the university’s effort to raise $600 million for student and faculty support, academic programs, and new and renovated facilities. Tim Boyle is vice chair of Campaign Oregon.
Tim Boyle's Bio: http://waddle.uoregon.edu/?id=727;
New Venture Championship: http://waddle.uoregon.edu/?id=728;
School of Architecture and Allied Arts Product Design Program: http://waddle.uoregon.edu/?id=729;
School of Journalism and Communication/New Venture Championship: http://waddle.uoregon.edu/?id=730