Thomasons Aid Efforts with $1 Million Gift

EUGENE – The momentum for a new arena at the University of Oregon received a major boost with the announcement that Scott Thomason and his wife, Deborah J. Autzen, have pledged a $1 million gift towards the construction of the new athletic facility, according to the Ducks' Director of Athletics Pat Kilkenny.

The construction of an arena would replace 80-year-old McArthur Court and would house the Ducks' men's and women's basketball teams as well as possibly the women's volleyball and wrestling teams. It would be funded entirely through private contributions and self-financed bonds.

Thomason, who graduated from the UO with an undergraduate degree in business in 1976, was the founder and former chief executive officer of Thomason Auto Group in Portland before selling the business in 1998. He has since purchased and is currently the CEO of the Barber Auto Group in Northern California.

Deborah Autzen is the granddaughter of the late Thomas J. Autzen, who is the namesake for Autzen Stadium after he donated money for the construction of the university's football stadium in the mid 1960s.

"It is my belief that we definitely are in need of a new arena and it is time that we move forward," Thomason said. "I want to help Pat and the university in any way that I can. By giving this gift, hopefully many others will follow."

Thomason had previously donated a $1 million gift to the Lundquist College of Business in 1998.

"It has been my contention for some time that for this project to become a reality, many individuals would need to step forward and contribute their energies and resources," Kilkenny said. "Scott and Debbie have been a longtime supporter of this university throughout a number of different avenues and this is just one more example of their generosity. It is my hope this might provide the spark and generate the enthusiasm necessary to carry this project closer to completion."

Although the university's arena project has transpired through various phases of activity since its initial announcement in July 2003, university President Dave Frohnmayer has renewed his intent with Kilkenny to generate private support for the construction of a new arena.

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