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Noted philanthropist Lorry Lokey makes $2 million gift to Lewis & Clark to support outstanding professors

January 16, 2015

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Portland native and Business Wire founder Lorry Lokey has made a $2 million gift to provide recognition and financial support to outstanding professors at Lewis & Clark. The gift will permanently endow the Lorry Lokey Faculty Excellence Fund, thus ensuring additional revenue to help sustain the teaching, research, and creative accomplishments that distinguish faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences. The gift is the largest from a living person in the past 10 years.

“Lorry Lokey has a deep belief in the power of education to change lives and society for the better,” Lewis & Clark President Barry Glassner said. “Indeed, he has cultivated education in ways that have been called ‘transformational’ and ‘catalytic.’ We are grateful for his friendship, his generosity, and his recognition of our extraordinary faculty.”

At Lewis & Clark, Lokey recognizes that faculty members give so much time and effort to their students that it’s a natural extension for him to give them financial support in return. And his message to donors at all levels is straightforward: “I’d rather give money away now while I can take joy and pleasure in seeing it make a difference—and you should, too.”

A tireless champion of the rewards of giving, Lokey has long planned to distribute his assets in support of education and other causes. He was an early member of the Giving Pledge established by Warren Buffet and Bill and Melinda Gates. That pledge challenges affluent individuals to direct the majority of their wealth to philanthropy either during their lifetimes or in their estates.

Growing up in Portland, Lokey was raised to help support others. “Even during the Depression, my folks always contributed what they could,” he said. He took their example to heart while building Business Wire from a San Francisco start-up in 1961 to today’s international media service. In 2006, Lokey sold the company to Berkshire Hathaway. The sale gave him even greater resources to support the area where he felt funding did the most good: education. He attributes his own success in business to the education and experiences he had at Alameda Elementary, Grant High, and Stanford University.

Last spring, an initial gift of $150,000 to the college established the Lorry Lokey Faculty Excellence Awards. Last year’s winners were Kellar Autumn, professor of biology; Rebecca Copenhaver, professor of philosophy; and Katherine FitzGibbon, assistant professor of music and director of choral activities.

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