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Strength, Pride, Endurance

October 02, 2014

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    Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.
    2014 Cameron Browne

Striding past an array of cardio machines and free weights, Bob Pamplin took off his suit jacket and tie and rolled up his sleeves. Then he approached the bar and promptly reeled off 31 pull-ups.

Followed by 311 push-ups. At age 72.

Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr. ’64, ’65, ’66, life trustee and former board chair, embodies and promotes the benefits of endurance in all facets of living. To drive his message home, he recently challenged the campus community to “Beat Bob” by topping 100 push-ups and 31 pull-ups.

A Legacy of Leadership

The Pamplin name has long been synonymous with leadership and philanthropy at Lewis & Clark. Bob’s late father, Robert B. Pamplin Sr., was twice chair of the Board of Trustees. Pamplin Sports Center is named in recognition of the family’s dedicated service and support.

In May 1992, Bob Pamplin challenged the Lewis & Clark community to beat his marks in a daylong series of fitness activities. More than 2,000 students, faculty, staff, and alumni responded. The Chairman’s Challenge generated international publicity for the college.

A year later, the college announced the creation of four endowed professorships and the Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr. Society of Fellows, honoring students and faculty who exemplify a love of learning, service to others, commitment to health and fitness, and dedication to leadership. The newest Pamplin Fellows, seven members of the class of 2017, will be inducted on October 20.

By competition’s end, which was celebrated on September 5 during Pio Fair, nearly 300 students, faculty, staff, and friends had taken on Bob’s challenge. And five had pushed and pulled their way past his formidable benchmarks. At the head of the class: Jesus Hernandez, a junior math major from Salinas, California, and a peer mentor in the Office of Inclusion and Multicultural Engagement. He powered through 330 push-ups and 36 pull-ups—all while healing from a recent injury to his right tricep.

Congratulating everyone who took part, Dr. Pamplin said, “When you dedicate yourself to always learning, staying mentally and physically fit, and serving others, you bring great accolades to your college. You also bring great accolades to yourself.”

Dr. Pamplin served as honorary chair of reunion giving this past year, when alumni gifts for the College of Arts and Sciences increased 71 percent over last year and totaled $216,500.

And, on October 10, in honor of his commitment to exemplifying fitness as a way of life, he will receive the Lewis & Clark Lifetime Sports Achievement and Leadership Award. The college has so honored only nine other Pioneers in its history.

Ever the entrepreneur and advocate for education and fitness, Dr. Pamplin is always looking ahead. Speaking with confidence about where Lewis & Clark is going now, he said, “We have the right direction, the right attitude, and the right people in place.”

Major Gifts and Grants

  • $253,000 from the estate of the Honorable Ralph M. Holman  to support the Ralph M. Holman and Louise Oesch Holman Memorial Fund at the law school.  
  • A $120,000 commitment from the Rose E. Tucker Charitable Trust in support of scholarships at the graduate school, the law school, and the undergraduate college.
  • $105,560 from the Garthe Brown and Grace L. Brown Funds of the Oregon Community Foundation in support of the law school’s Louis Schnitzer Memorial Scholarship.
  • $80,000 from the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe to bring Walter R. Echo-Hawk  to the law school as the inaugural Walter R. Echo-Hawk Distinguished Visiting Professor.  
  • An anonymous donor established a charitable gift annuity with the college paying 8.7 percent.
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