Meet the nominees for the UO Board of Trustees

Posted by Craig Garcia on Monday, Aug. 19 at 8:34 pm.

Gov. John Kitzhaber appointed 14 members to the new UO Board of Trustees on Monday. If the list of nominees are approved by the Senate, the new appointees will be working with the University by managing construction around campus, adjusting tuition and presiding over the hiring and firing of a University president.

On the list of 14 comes a variety of people with diverse backgrounds and credentials. The group is compiled of UO faculty members and CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, Emmy award-winners and a UO student.

Allyn Ford

After earning his undergraduate from Yale University, and then his MBA from Stanford University, Ford started working at Roseburg Forest Products. Ford is now the president of Roseburg Forest Products, which has become one of the largest wood products companies in the United States. On top of his 30 years of management experience from Roseburg Forest Products, Ford is also the treasurer for the Ford Family Foundation, a foundation based in Roseburg, Ore. that focuses on giving college students grants and scholarships. Former governor Ted Kulongoski appointed Ford to be on the Oregon Board of Higher Education, where his term on the board lasted rom 2009-2013.

Ford and Cheryl Ramberg Ford were also the lead donators to the alumni center project in 2006 – making them the namesake for the recently built Ford Alumni Center. Their donation to the University helped spearhead the Campaign Oregon initiative, which is the largest fundraising effort in the history of Oregon.

Andrew Colas

A Lundquist College of Business graduate from 2004, Colas is president of Colas Construction, a family construction business based in Portland, which is one of the biggest construction businesses in the state. Right after graduating from the UO, Colas worked hard for the family company, starting off in the business as a full-time project manager, and then on to leading the business and operational teams at Colas Construction.

Outside of his new future board member duties for the UO Board of Trustees, Colas is also a board member for the UO Alumni Association.

Ann Curry 

Perhaps the most notable name on the list, UO alum Ann Curry has made a prominent name for herself in broadcast journalism. She was the news reporter for NBC’s “The Today Show” from 1997-2011, until she became the co-anchor for the show. Curry is known for her humanitarian and international reporting, and awards for her extensive reporting in Darfur and being the only American reporter to report from both Beruit and Northern Israel during the Israel-Lebanon War.

After graduating from the UO in 1978, Curry interned at KTVL in Medford. After working as an intern at KTVL, and then becoming the station’s first female reporter, Curry went on to report in Portland and Los Angeles, until she was offered a job at NBC News.

Chuck Lillis

A Kansas native and the first one in his family to attend college, Chuck Lillis earned his B.A. and his M.B.A at the University of Washington. He later on earned his Ph.D. in business from the UO in 1972. After graduating from the UO he went to Washington State for two years to become a professor, only to realize that his real passion was for doing business, not teaching it.

Lillis served as the chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer for MediaOne Group, a cable and broadband company. In 1997, just two years after Lillis became apart of the company, MediaOne became a Fortune 100 company, which got the attention of AT&T, which later bought MediaOne in 1999. He later on became the co-founder and principal for LoneTree Capital Management, a private equity investing group which he helped formed in 2000.

In the past, Lillis was a board member for Charter Communications, Washington Mutual and The Williams Companies Inc.

Connie Ballmer

A journalism alum from the UO, Ballmer was on the PR team for Microsoft in the 1980s. During her time there she met the CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer. In 1990, the two married and currently have three children and live in Bellevue, Washington

Along with her husband, Ballmer donated $10 million to Partners for Our Children, an organization dedicated to improving Washington’s child-welfare system.

Ginevra Ralph

Ginevra Ralph was an instructor and research assistant in special education for the UO, along with also being the assistant to the director of Academic Support and Student Services in the College of Education. Currently though she’s the Director of the American Music and the Oregon Festival of American Music.

Ralph shares her passion for teaching music with her husband, Jim. Together they reestablished the John G. Shedd Institute for the Arts. The venue is located in a former church in downtown Eugene that has been converted to a live music hall and a music school.

Joseph Gonyea III

After graduating from Santa Clara University in 1984, Joseph Gonyea III went back to his hometown of Springfield, Ore. to work at one of the largest manufacturers of hardwood plywood in the United States, Timber Products Company. He’s currently the Chief Operating Officer for the company.

He serves on the board of directors for the California Forestry Association, but he keeps his ties to his home close to him by serving on the Oregon Forest Industries Council and also being the officer on the executive committee of the Sacred Heart Medical Center located in Eugene.

Mary Wilcox 

Attending the UO for her undergrad and her law school degree, Wilcox graduated in 1978 and moved to Portland. Wilcox became the principal of NW Wellness Solutions, an organization dedicated to provide health screenings, nurses and medical care for businesses. Wilcox is also the founder of the Center for Women’s Health at OHSU.

She also founded the Portland Mentoring Project, an organization that looks to provide mentors for kids without father figures. The Mentoring Project looks to set up big brothers and big sisters through multiple local and national faith communities to help build sustainable mentoring communities.

Peter Bragdon

After earning a degree in Political Science from Amherst University in 1984, Bragdon went on to earn his Master of Studies in law at Yale, and then his Doctorate in law at Stanford in 1993. Bragdon Ten years after graduating from Stanford, Bragdon served as Gov. Kitzhaber’s chief of staff from until June of 2004.

Once he was done working with the governor, Bragdon moved to Portland and became the senior counsel and director of intellectual property for Columbia Sportswear.

Ross Kari

Coming from the small town of Sisters, Ore., Kari went on to achieve anything but small accomplishments. Kari earned his M.B.A. in finance from the UO, which he put to good use while working at Wells Fargo for nearly two decades. He started off as a financial analyst for the bank in 1983, but he quickly rose through the ranks while working there, eventually becoming the senior vice president and general auditor until he stepped down in 1995.

Kari then went on to be the executive vice president and CFO for Freddie Mac, a federal home loan mortgage corporation, until he retired in Oregon.

Rudy Chapa

During his time at the UO, Chapa became a local celebrity and University hero while he was on the track team. The six time All-American became the NCAA champion in the 5,000 meters in 1978, as well as joining the four minute mile club when he ran a 3:57 mile in Eugene in ’81.

However, Chapa’s competitive running career didn’t end when he graduated from the UO. While he was a student at Indiana Law School, Chapa ran in the 1983 New York City Marathon with a time of 2:11:13, coming in 7th place and making him the second fastest American marathon debut at the time.

Once he finished school and running competitively, Chapa went on to work for Nike as the global director of sports marketing. He left Nike in 1999 to pursue his own business opportunities, which manifested into being the founder of SPARQ (Speed, Power, Agility, Reaction, Quickness) a sports equipment and media enterprise started by Chapa in 2004.

Sam Dotters-Katz

The only student on the list, Eugene native Sam Dotters-Katz is going into his third year as a law student at the University of Oregon. Dotters-Katz is also the ASUO President for the coming school year, making this his second time winning the position in an election, with his first being his junior year as an undergrad. He is also the director of Students of Higher Education Excellence Now.

Outside of student politics, Dotters-Katz was an intern for Sen. Ron Wyden in the summer of 2012. Dotters-Katz was also the campaign manager for Sen. Brent Barton in the 2010 Oregon Legislative elections.

Susan Gary

A law professor at the UO law school, Susan Gary graduated from Yale University and then earned her J.D. from Columbia University. She served an Advisory Board member for the NYU’s National Center on Philanthropy and the Law.

Throughout her career, she has held multiple leadership positions in the Association of American Law Schools, Real Property, Trust and Estate Section of the ABA and the Oregon State Bar.

Kurt Willcox

Willcox is a research analyst for UO’s IntoCareers program, but recently he has been a very active president for the Service Employees International Union Bargaining Team. As the chief bargaining delegate for SEIU, Willcox has been involved in every bargaining meeting between SEIS and the Oregon University System, with his one goal being to get University employees better salaries and benefits.

As well as being inside of the negotiations, Willlcox has also had a significant presence in representing the SEIU during protests.



  • Angry Student

    Since when do logging companies and too-big-to-fail banks need to be represented on the board of a public university? Fuck this. I’m so ashamed of what’s happening to my university.

  • Disappointed

    You could have been at least slightly critical of these decisions, instead of being a cheerleader for these people.

    • Nope.

      “Thanks for serving our university our university if you take the opportunity, fuck you!”

      • Angry Student

        You honestly think the guy who makes money from student loan debt (Ross Kari) is “serving” the university?

        • Nope.

          Cool story bro. I know its basically holy tradition for ASUO and politikids at UO to bitch at each other about things in Daily Emerald articles and get a flustered and what not, but why don’t you try not wasting your time and actually do something about it? May I suggest writing a letter to the governor or going out and doing a little protesting dance/petition-a-thon about the nominees. I thought you OSPIRG/super liberal students would have this down by now.

          • Angry Student

            Thanks jackass. We have been consistently fighting again the institutional boards and against the nominees being as (mostly) shitty as they are now. In the meantime, why can’t I spend two minutes making a perfectly true and reasonable comment on this website?

            And for the record, OSPIRG is far too cowardly to take on the administration in any way. Don’t compare me to them.

  • awesome0

    Given the main things the university needs right now are a much larger endowment, improved teaching and research facilities, and more classrooms (due to the growth in the university), this seems like a well chosen group. Excited for the change it will bring.