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Canzano: Honorary Doctorate Coming for Phil Knight

Phil Knight at the PK 80 - Phil Knight Invitational in 2017. (Photo by: Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

In his latest column for The Oregonian, our own John Canzano reports Nike Chairman Phil Knight will be given an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Oregon.

The University will celebrate the 2020 graduates and honor Knight in a virtual ceremony on June 20.

So get ready for Dr. Phil … Knight.

Canzano also talks about the interesting relationship Knight and UO have had throughout the years.

I never understood why anyone begrudged Phil or Penny Knight for spending their time and money how they wished. Or why for a stretch the University of Oregon acted apologetically about having the Knights in their pocket.

In fact, we all know that UO wouldn’t be what it is had Knight never walked the campus as a college student.

Canzano goes on to educate those who don’t see it (or don’t want to) that Knight isn’t the only booster who has helped orchestrate success for a university.

Oklahoma has the Gaylord Family. Michigan State has lumber tycoon Peter Secchia. Ohio State booster Les Wexner owns Victoria’s Secret. And LSU has Bernhard family and Wisconsin has the Kohl family. And Oklahoma State had the late T. Boone Pickens.

College sports empires don’t build themselves.

Canzano also reminds us that Knight helped keep Mike Bellotti at Oregon and the fact that Knight has continued to help his alma mater improve in more areas than just athletics.

That’s $27 million for the Knight Library. Another $10 million for The William W. Knight Law Center. Another $15 million for 27 endowed chairs and professorships, and $500 million for a science research center.

Whether it’s $30 million for the original renovation of Autzen Stadium, or $41 million for an athletic tutoring center, or $100 million for Matthew Knight Arena, Penny and Phil’s fingerprints are all over the operation.

One thing is for sure, the University of Oregon is lucky to have Knight, and they’re proud to have him too.

Check out Canzano’s full column on Oregonlive.com.

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