August 10, 2011
Oregon Law mourns Carolyn Chambers
The University of Oregon School of Law is mourning the loss of longtime friend and supporter Carolyn Chambers. Ms. Chambers died Monday, August 8. She was 79 years old.
Ms. Chambers received her bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Oregon in 1953 and continued to be an avid supporter of the university’s academic and athletic programs. In 1960, she launched KEZI Television in Eugene. In addition to being chairman and CEO of Chambers Communications Corp., she also served as president of Chambers Management and as chair of the advisory board for Oregon Law’s Center for Law and Entrepreneurship.
Ms. Chambers held numerous leadership positions in local, national, and international professional organizations, as well as organizations that foster education, support the arts, or provide social services to the public. She served several terms on the Board of the Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco, and played important roles in PeaceHealth, the University of Oregon Foundation, and the Eugene Symphony. She also served as President of the Oregon Women’s Forum and the Treasurer of the International Women’s Forum.
Oregon Law Dean Michael Moffitt said Ms. Chambers’ work for the Center for Law and Entrepreneurship has given students the opportunity to engage in real-world problem solving outside the classroom.
“Her investments in the law school’s Center for Law and Entrepreneurship have fundamentally transformed our ability to prepare students to facilitate the formation and growth of startup companies,” Dean Moffitt remarked. “Our school, our community, and our state are in her debt.”
Ms. Chambers’ generous gift of $1 million to Oregon Law established the Center for Law and Entrepreneurship in 1994. In her capacity as chair of the Center’s advisory board, she oversaw the expansion of the Center’s activities to include the Technology Entrepreneurship Fellows program, which began in 2002, and the Small Business Clinic, which opened in January 2004. The students enrolled in the clinic acquire valuable practical skills as they provide legal services to nearly a dozen entrepreneurs who are launching new businesses in western Oregon.
Professor Barbara Aldave, director of the Center for Law and Entrepreneurship, said Chambers was crucial not only to the monetary development of the Center, but to the conceptualizing, execution, and leadership of the Center as it operates today.
“Carolyn and I first met during the spring of 2000, when I was deciding whether to return to the University of Oregon after a 27-year absence,” Aldave recalled. “From the outset, we agreed to work together to revitalize and expand the Center for Law and Entrepreneurship. Carolyn contributed both the leadership skills and the financial assistance that were needed to transform the Center into the vibrant hub of entrepreneurial activity that it is today.”
Ms. Chambers is a past recipient of the UO’s Pioneer Award, Presidential Medal, Distinguished Service Award, and Distinguished Alumni Award. In addition, she has received the Alumni Association’s Webfoot Award, and the “Alumni Trailblazer” Visionaries Award from the Lundquist College of Business. Most recently, Ms. Chambers was a recipient of Oregon Law’s 2010 Meritorious Service Award.
A memorial service for Ms. Chambers will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, August 20, in the Silva Concert Hall at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts.