by Rob Moseley
Oregon's new Football Performance Center was dedicated in the names of the mothers of Phil and Penny Knight on Thursday evening.
The Hatfield-Dowlin Complex was officially christened at an unveiling for top donors to the project. The Knights funded the construction, and other donors have contributed to the building's operational costs.
The complex is named for Lota Hatfield, Phil Knight's mother, and Dorothie Dowlin, the mother of Penny Knight. Each was a child of the Great Depression who started her own career — Hatfield as a telephone operator, Dowlin with the "Rosie the Riveter" generation of female World War II factory workers. Each eventually married a lawyer, then started a family.
Athletics were stressed in each household. Penny Knight's brothers played baseball and golf. Phil Knight ran track at Portland's Cleveland High and then the University of Oregon, with strong encouragement from his mother.
The Hatfield-Dowlin Complex is the second major project in recent years named for Knight family members. It follows Matthew Knight Arena, named for the Knights' son who passed away in 2004.
Oregon's library and law school also are in the family's name.