"The real purpose of running isn't to win a race, it's to test the limits of the human heart." - Bill Bowerman
The facility is the result of a generous gift from Phil and Penny Knight to encourage academic achievement along with athletic performance. The building is named after John E. Jaqua, who was a football hero, war hero, successful farmer, revered lawyer, founding board member of Nike, adored father and longtime supporter for the University of Oregon. Jaqua's legacy is meant to awaken every generation to look itself in the eye and be the best it can be; his namesake reprsents a challenge to student athletes to fulfill their promise.
The facility also serves as a pantheon of student athletic academic achievements. This is accomplished through the seamless integration of art, environment graphics and the buildings architecture. These exhibits will continue to evolve over time as new honorees are added. In one example, the atrium lounge displays the Emerald, Jackson and Higdon awards
These awards are given each year to top student athletes in the area of scholastic ability, community service and sportsmanship. Redesigned in cast bronze by contemporary Spanish artist Rosa Serra, renowned for her sculptures and Olympic art, they provide a stunning display for visitors to interact with current and past winners.
On another atrium wall, a three-story mural is constructed of 10,000 small 3x3 photos of student athletes that were acid-etched onto stainless steel and then assembled in such a way that Albert Einstein's face emerges when viewed from a distance.
Other elements include floor engravings of Academic All-American honorees, a color and sandblasted glass wall celebrating PAC-12 All Academic recipients and a stairwell that contains the names of more than 4,000 lettermen that graduated from the University between 1945 and 2009