The benefits of innovation and the future of science in Oregon were themes at ARCS Oregon’s Scholar Awards Luncheon “Recognizing Genius.” Keynote speaker Dr. Jose Reyes told how $4,000 and an idea was built into NuScale Power, a company that sells passively- cooled small nuclear reactors. NuScale Power, headquartered in Portland, now has 1,600 employees and 26 contracts in the U.S.
Dr. Reyes praised the ARCS Oregon scholars who presented research posters at the luncheon, saying “I see innovation all along the walls of this room.”
The 67 current Oregon scholars, along with members and community leaders at the luncheon, heard of an unprecedented investment into science research that has been pledged at the University of Oregon. Michael Schill, UO president, announced that Phil and Penny Knight have donated $500 million to the Eugene campus for the Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact, a project that will include new buildings, bring research teams and support hundreds of graduate and undergraduate students. Phil Knight is co-founder of Nike Inc. and a UO graduate.
The other two universities that ARCS Oregon supports with scholar awards were represented at the luncheon by Dr. Joe Robertson, president of Oregon Health & Science University, and Dr. Ed Ray, president of Oregon State University.
The scholar alum speaker was Kevin Watanabe-Smith, who continues his PhD cancer research at OHSU in the Knight Cancer Institute. He told how ARCS funds help PhD students during lean years – especially when you have an old car without functioning doors. Watanabe-Smith introduced the first ARCS Oregon video, which highlighted scholars and faculty at the three universities.
ARCS Oregon President Joan Foley presided over the luncheon program. All scholars were on stage at the beginning and end of the luncheon.
Underwriters contributed $98,500 to the luncheon, which will help fund future scholar awards when boosted by the attendance of 440 guests and their donations.
The Einstein Presenting Sponsors are: Julie and Wayne Drinkward with Hoffman Construction; the University of Oregon; OHSU and its foundation; Oregon State University and its foundation. Wheeler Foundation offered a matching grant of $10,000 for luncheon donations.