BEND, Ore. — Oregon State University - Cascades has received a gift that will establish the first endowed faculty position at the Central Oregon campus and help launch its new Energy Engineering Management degree program that was approved by the State Board of Higher Education last month.
A charitable trust operated by the owners of BendBroadband, a family-owned business in Central Oregon, is giving $250,000 to establish the Tykeson Endowed Faculty Scholar in Energy Engineering Management.
The Eugene, Ore.-based Tykeson Family Charitable Trust has supported higher education since its inception 20 years ago, including gifts to Oregon Health and Science University and the University of Oregon. This is its first gift to OSU.
“We’ve seen OSU-Cascades gain tremendous momentum under the leadership of Vice President Becky Johnson,” said Amy Tykeson, president and CEO of BendBroadband and a trustee of the family foundation. “We are very excited about the new Energy Engineering Management program and are delighted to be a part of helping it succeed.”
The new undergraduate program is one of only a handful of its kind in the nation and represents a growing career field that requires professionals to understand both complex engineering as well as business concepts in order to identify solutions for maximum energy efficiency.
Participants in the new program will take classes in mechanical engineering, industrial engineering and business management, in addition to energy specific courses. The program is designed to give students an understanding of energy systems with an eye to business and management concerns, and environmental issues.
BendBroadband is in the midst of constructing a new Bend-based data center that will incorporate energy optimization features, including a 155KW solar array on the roof and a high-tech heat exchange system to reduce the energy required to cool the facility.
“The alignment of this giving opportunity with what we were thinking about relative to our new data center—energy management, green technologies and all the sustainability factors that go into such a facility—just seemed to fit very well,” Tykeson said. “Importantly, this is the type of degree program that will put OSU-Cascades on the map nationally.”
Graduates of the new program will be trained to help companies like BendBroadband optimize energy use.
“If we had graduates right now, they would probably be helping Amy and BendBroadband on their new data center,” said Becky Johnson, vice president of OSU-Cascades. “This gift is a testament to the Tykesons’ leadership in Central Oregon and in business development in general, and to their understanding of how important higher education is for any community.”
Prior to assuming operational oversight of BendBroadband, Amy Tykeson’s career included eight years as vice president of marketing at HBO in New York and at other communications companies. Her father, Donald Tykeson, is founder of BendBroadband and has been involved in a range of cable and business interests on the West Coast.
Don Tykeson established the Tykeson Family Charitable Trust 20 years ago to create a mechanism to give back. “And we always put education and healthcare at the top of the list,” he said.
The gift from the Tykeson Trust qualifies for the OSU Provost’s Faculty Match Program, a new initiative that leverages donors' investments by providing an extra incentive to endow faculty positions that support the priorities identified in the university's strategic plan. The Provost’s Match will add an additional $62,500 over five years to support the Energy Engineering Management program.
Amy and Don Tykeson are both University of Oregon business graduates, but Don’s sister, her husband and Amy’s husband are all Oregon State alumni.
“I’m an Oregon alum and a supporter of the Ducks,” said Don Tykeson. “But I’m interested in our state and our country and things that are much larger than that.”