The Associated Press

EUGENE — University of Oregon administrators hope a few wealthy donors contribute up to $3 billion in a capital campaign expected to start in October and last four years.

A small group of wealthy constituents told lawmakers in 2012 that if the Legislature created a governing board free of state oversight they would produce an influx of money. The bill passed last year and the new independent board for the University of Oregon takes over July 1.

The alumni group that backed the move, Oregonians for Higher Education Excellence, incudes Nike’s Phil Knight, the UO’s former athletic director, Pat Kilkenny, Columbia Distributing CEO Edward Maletis and Board of Trustees President Chuck Lillis.

UO hopes to create “clusters of excellence” with endowments to attract top professors.