Great start to 2011

January 14th, 2011

The new year is off to a wonderful start at the University of Oregon. The focal point has been athletics—everyone knows about the remarkable football success and the opening of the Matthew Knight Arena. It’s a great time to be Duck.

The outpouring of enthusiasm and support from the state of Oregon and our community acknowledge that all faculty and staff at the University of Oregon have contributed to the success. This is a time for all of us to be proud.

As you may know, the City of Eugene wants to celebrate all UO champions—in the classroom, in the community and on the field – with a parade next Saturday, Jan. 22. We want our campus community to be out in force as participants, spectators and volunteers, demonstrating that we value this place we call home. I encourage anyone with energy, great ideas and questions to contact Government and Community Relations for details on how to be involved (

As an institution, our mission is at the core of our successes, sometimes in unexpected ways. In the locker room at the end of the BCS championship game, Coach Chip Kelly spoke to the young men who had done their best and were disappointed and frustrated with the outcome. What he told them was a reflection of what the University of Oregon represents.

Chip told them that the football game was not a defining moment in their lives. A defining moment, he said, is when you graduate, when you become a husband, when you become a father. Chip told them that football is not who they are, that they are young men who play football, but that football does not define them. He told them their education at the University of Oregon was preparing them for those moments—giving them tools with which they may define themselves, and that the education they were receiving was what was truly important.

That speech summarized succinctly, and at that moment emotionally, what this great university does with every student. It is our mission to prepare them to take advantage of the defining moments in their lives.

Thank you to the extraordinary faculty, staff and coaches who convey this message each and every day. I've never been more proud to be part of an educational mission than I am right now—proud of the University of Oregon.

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