Henry Villard In Eugene.
Mr. H. Villard the railroad magnate philanthropist, and endower of The Oregon State University visited Eugene Thursday. Perhaps the greatest events in the life of educational affairs during the season was the arrival of the special bearing Mr. Villard and party, last thursday. The State University was long in a condition of despondency, financially until this man learning of its need and wishing to aid educational matters lent a helping hand. Several minor endowments were made and finally $ 50,000 was given, the whole amounting to upwards of $ 60,000. The citizens of Eugene, realizing with gratitude this noble effort of a rich man turned out to greet him. Stores were closed for a short period
and a suitable programme was arranged by the regents and Mr. Villard was given the opportunity of entertainment in the noble hall erected by his foster institution of learning and dedicated to him. Surely there is nothing can do so much good in the world and make so many hearts glad as gold in its proper use and influence. Mr. Villard will live in the minds of Oregon people long after they who now gladly praise him have passed away.” Oregon State Journal (Eugene OR), August 5, 1899, pg. 5, col. 3.
*Villard Hall finished in 1886, became the second building completed on the University of Oregon campus. Before being named for Henry Villard, it was simply called, “the new building”. Henry Villard was the university’s first benefactor.
The time value of money between 1899 to today is much harder to estimate. The Measuring Worth website puts Mr. Villard’s donation of $ 60,000 value in 2010 dollars anywhere from $ 1.4 million to just over $ 44 million. This puts him right up with the top benefactors of the University of Oregon.