David B. Frohnmayer

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David B. Frohnmayer
David B. Frohnmayer.jpg
Frohnmayer in 2009
Attorney General of Oregon
In office
January 5, 1981 – December 31, 1991
Preceded by James M. Brown
Succeeded by Charles S. Crookham
President of the University of Oregon
In office
July 1, 1994 – June 30, 2009
Preceded by Myles Brand
Succeeded by Richard W. Lariviere
Personal details
Born (1940-07-09) July 9, 1940 (age 74)
Medford, Oregon
Political party Republican
Profession Attorney

Dave Frohnmayer (born July 9, 1940) is an American attorney, politician, and university administrator from Oregon. He was the 15th president of the University of Oregon (UO), serving from 1994 to 2009. His tenure as president was the second-longest after John Wesley Johnson. He was the first native Oregonian to run the UO. Frohnmayer previously served as Oregon Attorney General from 1981 to 1991, and subsequently served as dean at the University of Oregon School of Law before serving as president of the university. He now serves in an "of counsel" attorney role with the Oregon law firm, Harrang Long Gary Rudnick P.C.

Early life and education[edit]

Frohnmayer was born in Medford, Oregon. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard in 1962. He attended Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship, and received his law degree from the University of California, Berkeley in 1967.

Political career[edit]

Frohnmayer, a Republican, served three terms in the Oregon House of Representatives from 1975 to 1981, representing southern Eugene.

Frohnmayer was elected as Oregon Attorney General in November 1980, defeating Democrat Harl H. Haas, Jr.,[1] and was sworn into office on January 5, 1981. He was re-elected in 1984 and 1988, when he was nominated by both the Democratic and Republican parties. Frohnmayer served as Attorney General until his resignation on December 31, 1991, when he became Dean of the University of Oregon School of Law. As Attorney General, one of his most notable cases involved leading the prosecution of members of the Rajneesh movement (followers of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh.) Frohnmayer prevailed in six out of the seven cases that he took to the United States Supreme Court.

Frohnmayer was the Republican nominee for Governor of Oregon in 1990. Popular Democratic incumbent–and former UC Berkeley School of Law classmate–Neil Goldschmidt withdrew after Frohnmayer's campaign manager, Donna Zajonc, said "...you've got to believe that the best family will win" at a news conference,[2] which was then reported by Jeff Mapes in The Oregonian.[3] Zajonc's statement was interpreted at the time as a threat to use Goldschmidt's collapsing marriage as a political issue.[3][4] Goldschmidt quickly withdrew from the race, an event that was considered one of the "great mysteries in Oregon politics"[2] until 2004, when Goldschmidt admitted to having a sexual relationship with a minor in the 1970s.[5] Frohnmayer subsequently lost the election to Barbara Roberts, the Democrat who was nominated after Goldschmidt's withdrawal, in a three-way race that included independent, Oregon Citizens Alliance-backed[6] candidate Al Mobley.[7]

Academic career[edit]

Frohnmayer served as Dean of the University of Oregon School of Law from January 1, 1992 until he was appointed President of the University in 1994. Frohnmayer announced his retirement as President on April 29, 2008, and was succeeded on July 31, 2009 by Richard Lariviere. Frohnmayer's tenure was widely acclaimed; The Register-Guard's editorial "Retiring from the University he Remade" opined that "Dave Frohnmayer has steered the University of Oregon through grim and changing times and he's leaving a different and stronger institution."[8] The Oregonian called Frohnmayer's presidency "one of the most remarkable higher education performances in Oregon history."[9]


Frohnmayer is active in support of research into treatment of the disease Fanconi anemia. Two of his daughters died from complications arising from this disease. He was a founding Director of the National Marrow Donor Program and served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Fanconi Anemia Research Fund, Inc. Lynn and Dave Frohnmayer established the FA Family Support Group in 1985, which they helped incorporate in the Fanconi Anemia Research Fund in 1989.[10]

Frohnmayer's father, Otto Frohnmayer, was a noted Southern Oregon lawyer. His brother, John Frohnmayer, served as chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts under the administration of President George H.W. Bush and briefly challenged incumbent senator Gordon Smith in the 2008 election as an independent. His other brother, Phillip Frohnmayer, who resides in New Orleans, Louisiana is a professor of music at Loyola University. His son is Mark Frohnmayer, lead programmer of Starsiege: Tribes and Tribes 2 at Dynamix before leaving to co-found GarageGames with Jeff Tunnell, Rick Overman and Tim Gift. Mark has since started Arcimoto, designing a three-wheeled electric vehicle.

In 2005, the University of Oregon's MarAbel B. Frohnmayer Music Building was named in honor of his mother.[11]

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ Whitney, David (November 5, 1980). "Frohnmayer Clobbers Haas". The Oregonian. p. E1. 
  2. ^ a b “The 30-Year Secret”. Willamette Week,May 12, 2004.
  3. ^ a b Mapes, Jeff; Jim Long; Alan Ota; Steve Duin (February 14, 1990). "Goldschmidt rumors frustrated his aides". The Oregonian. 
  4. ^ Sullivan, Julie; Harry Esteve and Gail Kinsey Hill (June 27, 2004). "Two-edged alliance". The Oregonian. 
  5. ^ Wong, Peter (June 8, 2004). "Goldschmidt’s records provide private insight". Statesman Journal. Archived from the original on 2008-01-05. Retrieved 2008-03-14. 
  6. ^ Graves, Bill; Don Hamilton (August 20, 1990). "Abortion foes name candidate". The Oregonian. 
  7. ^ Hortsch, Dan (April 14, 1992). "GOP on crusade for majority-rule ballot". The Oregonian. 
  8. ^ Register-Guard, Eugene, Oregon, USA
  9. ^ http://www.oregonlive.com/ducks/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/sports/1209527706247440.xml&coll=7
  10. ^ Fanconi Anemia Research Fund
  11. ^ Inside Oregon - For the University of Oregon Community

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
James M. Brown
Oregon Attorney General
Succeeded by
Charles Crookham
Academic offices
Preceded by
Myles Brand
President of the University of Oregon
1994 - 2009
Succeeded by
Richard W. Lariviere