A Chance to Help

Staniaks 2

Oregon alumni Betty and Eric Staniak have always been loyal Duck fans, but now they are excited about getting involved in a way that will help future generations at the UO.

Eric grew up in Eugene and Betty grew up in Northeast Portland. They met in class at the UO’s School of Journalism and Communication (SOJC).

Betty majored in feature writing and broadcast, while Eric majored in print journalism. They graduated in 1980 and were married soon after and launched into careers.

Eric worked in operations at State Farm Insurance, Betty specialized in communication, storytelling, and strategy. Great opportunities took them all over the country, but they eventually came home to Oregon.

Before returning to Portland, they inquired about supporting the University of Oregon’s programs in Portland. They quickly chose to use their donations to benefit SOJC students.

They say they are are thankful for the chance to help.

“It’s where our heart is. It’s where we met,” Betty says. “The students in the SOJC do real work, create real content, and master real technology, and that’s what it’s all about: to feel like what you are doing in the classroom setting is translating out of the bubble into real life. I feel like the school is doing a stellar job with that.”

The Betty and Eric Staniak Portland Endowment provides support for students, faculty, facilities, and programs in Portland with a focus on journalism, multimedia, and media technology. Their fund helps advance, enhance, and expand the journalism school’s mission on the UO’s new campus located in Northeast Portland. Betty and Eric will also establish an endowed fellowship for the SOJC through their estate plans.

Eric describes their role by itself as “small,” but combined with the support of many others, the school is able to accomplish a lot for students—beginning with giving them chances to gain real-life experience while still in college.

“The opportunity to get work published while in a college environment is really important,” says Betty.

—by Sophie Fowler, class of ’26

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