Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A tradition of philanthropy for teaching, healing, and research

In 1930, the University of Oregon Medical School received $400,000 from the Rockefeller Foundation to build and equip a new facility on the Marquam Hill campus, an Outpatient Clinic that would continue the work of the highly successful Portland Free Dispensary.  (For more information on the history of that institution and its integration in to the University of Oregon Medical School in 1909, see the online exhibit.)

A news article in the local paper quoted then Dean Richard B. Dillehunt: 
'This is the largest gift ever made to the university.[...] The Rockefellers already have given $291,000 to the medical school. Gifts from all sources in the last ten years total $1,225,000. This sum equals the entire amount appropriated by the state for the same period. Thus the school has matched dollar for dollar, from private sources, every cent expended upon it by the taxpayers of Oregon.' [...]

"Latest recognition by the Rockefeller Foundation of the efforts in Portland and in Oregon to develop, as part of the state university, an institution of medical education, research and service to the people, does much to enhance these three functions of the medical school in its program of prolongation of life and the relief of suffering,' concluded Dr. Dillehunt.

'It makes another point in the progress of Portland as the medical center of the Pacific Northwest, and it is hoped that such generous consideration by an outside organization will stimulate interest in the state university, and encourage our own citizens to further endowments and benefactions to facilitate its work at Eugene, Portland, and throughout the state.'
And such is the university's hope today, as state appropriations to higher education dwindle and the costs of educating the health care workers of tomorrow and of providing health care to Oregonians continues to rise. 

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