Phil Knight Pledges $500-Million to Oregon University

Phil Knight, Nike’s co-founder, surprised officials at Oregon Health and Science University Friday night by promising $500-million if the institution can raise that much from others for cancer research in the next two years, the Oregonian reports. The pledge is one of the biggest made so far in 2013.

The institution approached Mr. Knight several months ago for the full $1-billion it estimates it needs to advance research that can detect and possibly cure cancer.  The institution didn’t know it would get the answer to that pitch when Mr. Knight announced the pledge at a gala Friday night.

Mr. Knight and his wife, Penny, have already made significant pledges to the institution, including $100-million in 2008 to found the organization and $125-million last year for cardiovascular research.

The couple ranked No. 12 on last year’s Philanthropy 50 for that gift. The Philanthropy 50 is The Chronicle’s ranking of the most generous donors of the year.

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