At the Trailhead for Liberal Arts, and Life

Plans take shape for Tykeson Hall—the College and Careers Building
Andrew Marcus

What a difference a year makes.

When I first reported on the College and Careers Building in winter 2015, it was just an idea—but an idea that had major funding from our lead donors, Don and Willie Tykeson, whose generous $10 million gift, coupled with $17 million in state funding, will make this remarkable facility a reality.

Now that we are well into the planning process, I can share with you what Tykeson Hall will do in a concrete way—literally—to place our students on track for lifelong success.

Situated in the heart of campus, this 55,000-square-foot facility will house key components of the College of Arts and Sciences and the UO Career Center, creating a hub where students can connect their academic and life interests to a rewarding education and career path. The College and Careers Building represents a new concept in university education—a trailhead where students begin their guided journey through the liberal arts and discover the tools and passion that take them to a lifetime of personal and professional achievement.

In this building, students from across 46 majors of the college will:

         develop fundamental communication and reasoning skills.

         apply critical reasoning skills to issues in the university, the community, and the world.

         integrate their passions and interests with their academic and career choices.

         find an academic home within a large college.

How will we do this?

First and foremost, we must “activate” the building. We’ll do this by bringing our introductory composition classes—taken by 6,000 students per year—and many of our introductory math classes—taken by 3,000 more—into the building. In these classes, they will gain skills that are fundamental to any liberal arts education: good communications and quantitative reasoning.

But students will see far more than instruction devoted to writing and mathematics. On their way to these introductory classes, they will see numerous career-related activities that will engage them through the remainder of their undergraduate education and beyond.

For instance, in this building they will be able to sign up for real-world experiences that draw so many of our students in their junior and senior years. Internships, undergraduate research programs, and the community literacy initiative (to name a few) will be housed in Tykeson Hall.

Of course, central to the name of the building—College and Careers—will be Career Center activities. Career Center staff and programs will be integrated with academic advising and programs. For example, a general-education cluster focusing on global health will have advisors close to Career Center staff who specialize in health occupations. Advisors to language and literature majors will share office space with experts in jobs for those with language, communication and other interests.

We will also have incubator spaces for new academic programs within the college, such as disability studies and the environmental humanities. These areas will encourage faculty collaboration with one another, and with students.

We hope to break ground in one year, a schedule that will be dictated in part by raising the remaining funding that will bring this project to life.

Ultimately, however, I realize that anything I write about Tykeson Hall will not compare to what Robert Frost accomplished in his poem, “Two Tramps in Mud Time.” In the writing, perhaps he envisioned this building:

But yield who will to their separation,

My object in living is to unite

My avocation and my vocation

As my two eyes make one in sight.


W. Andrew Marcus is Interim Tykeson Dean of Arts and Sciences. He is a professor of geography and proud parent of two UO graduates and three current UO students, all in the arts and sciences.