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Oct 18, 2016 11:13 AM EDT

Nike Co-Founder Donates $500 Million To University Of Oregon

Nike co-founder Phil Knight gives donation to the University of Oregon
Nike co-founder Phil Knight gives donation to the University of Oregon
(Photo : Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

Nike co-founder Phil Knight and his wife, Penny, donates a whopping $500 million to the University of Oregon. With the gift, the school will be launching a new science campus.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Nike co-founder's gift is the largest amount ever given to a public flagship institution. The University of Oregon will be creating the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact, which will focus on coming up with real-world applications for basic scientific discoveries.

The school expects to build three research facilities in the coming years. It will be situated across its current science complex in Eugene, Ore. The university has also announced that they will hire 30 new research scientists as well as add more positions for 250 graduate students and 150 postdoctoral researchers.

"This act of philanthropy from Penny and Phil Knight is breathtaking," President Michael Schill said in an official statement. "This is a seminal moment for the University of Oregon, an inflection point that will shape the trajectory of the university and this state for the next century and beyond."

This is not the first time that the Nike co-founder and his wife donated money to back research. Back in 2013, the couple announced a $500 million matched gift to the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland for cancer research. The school was able to meet the challenge last year.

In February, the Knights announced a $400 million donation to Stanford University. This was for the school's graduate scholars program.

According to Oregon Live, the school is expected to formally announce the donation at a news conference on Tuesday morning at the Ford Alumni Center on campus. Phil Knight also admitted that he and his wife were "delighted" to give to the university "in an age of declining public support for scientific research generally and declining public higher education support specifically."

"While not without risk, we believe the expected societal returns from such investments are high," he added. "And here at home in Oregon, we believe the potential to arm our talented young people with the skills and tools they will need to have a lasting impact on the world and to pursue rewarding careers makes such investments essential."

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