Eugene media entrepreneur Carolyn Chambers, a 1953 graduate of the UO School of Business and a longtime friend of the School of Journalism and Communication, died Monday, August 8 of cancer. She was 79. A Celebration of Life will be held Saturday, August 20 at 2:00 p.m. at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts.
Tim Gleason, Edwin L. Artzt Dean of the SOJC, described Chambers as “one of the SOJC’s greatest allies” and a champion of its students.
“Carolyn believed in the SOJC and in our potential to build an even better journalism school,” he said. “Above all, she cared deeply about students and the student experience.”
In the early 90s, Chambers, founder and CEO of Chambers Communications, created the first endowed professorships in the School of Journalism and Communication, the Carolyn Chambers Distinguished Professorship in Advertising and the KEZI Distinguished Professorship in Broadcast Journalism. In 1996, the Chambers family funded the Carolyn Chambers Electronic Media Center (CEMC), which made it possible for the school to expand into the ground floor of Allen Hall and to dramatically improve its broadcast and video offerings.
Through the Chambers Family Foundation, Chambers and her family also provided several major gifts for the purchase of cameras and other technology for the school. She also encouraged and supported the school’s close collaboration with Chambers Communications, resulting in hundreds of internships, Chambers staff teaching in the SOJC, and currently, the SOJC’s leasing of a sound stage during the Allen Hall renovation.
In 2005, the SOJC awarded its first Chambers Scholarship in Electronic Media, which was created by the Chambers Family Foundation and given to an outstanding undergraduate student each year.
She was an active member of the school’s Journalism Advancement Council from 1990 to 2007.
Professor Jim Upshaw, who was the school’s first KEZI Distinguished Professor of Broadcast Journalism, said “I watched Carolyn Chambers transform our broadcast program. She did it not merely through bricks, mortar and equipment but in a spirit that represented a kind of civic will and that meant a lot to our students. Carolyn always said she hoped we would expand their understanding of how important their work in the world could be. We’ve seen that happen, and I’m grateful for her tremendous contributions to it, seen and unseen.”
“Carolyn’s impact on the School of Journalism and Communication will be felt for generations to come,” Gleason said. “Her legacy is one of collaboration and a commitment to helping us create a world-class journalism school. She was a great friend, and she will be missed.”
Chambers’ impact on the University of Oregon extended beyond the SOJC. In addition to serving as a UO Foundation trustee from 1980 to 2000, Chambers served on the UO Law Dean’s Advisory Council, the LCB Board of Visitors, and the LCB Dean’s Business Advisory Council. The UO honored her with the Pioneer Award in 1983, the Webfoot Society Award in 1986, the Presidential Medal in 1991, the UO Distinguished Service Award in 1992, the UOAA Distinguished Alumni Award in 1995, the LCB Visionaries Award-Alumni Trailblazer Award in 2001 and the Business Hall of Fame Award in June 2008.
Since May of this year, all prospective UO students have begun their university experience in the Carolyn Silva Chambers Student Orientation Classroom in the Ford Alumni Center.