The annual "Ducks in the Snow" gathering of University of Oregon alumni and supporters on Friday, Feb. 11 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Whiskey Jacques in Ketchum will have a few new wrinkles in 2011.
First-year Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens and newly-named Oregon Hall of Fame football player Tom Drougas of Hailey are due to attend. There will also be the unveiling of the new Cowboy Duck Scholarship in honor of Oregon alumni Tyler Felton.
No one would have been happier than Felton to see the Ducks enjoy their best football season ever and advance to the NCAA Division 1 championship game in January.
But Ketchum accountant Felton, 53, died about 11 months before that historic football achievement, last Feb. 21 in a shop accident on his family farm in Arco. His wife Patti Felton Lentz has set up a memorial scholarship at Oregon in her husband's memory.
According to Justin J. Fisher, Regional Director of Development of the Duck Athletic Fund, the purpose of the Cowboy Duck Scholarship is to establish an endowment with income to provide scholarship support to the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics at the University of Oregon.
Before graduating from Oregon in 1979 and becoming a partner in the Ketchum CPA firm of Lallman, Felton, Peterson & Pierce, Felton came out of Idaho's tiny Butte County High School in Arco where he was a strong athlete and outdoors enthusiast.
The scholarship fund aims to provide support to one or more football athletes from Idaho and specifically from a rural community like Felton's Arco hometown.
Fisher said, "The scholarship has grown very rapidly in no small part because of Patti's generosity of matching all gifts that have been given. Each year, 4% of the fund will be awarded to a student-athlete with any additional earnings being added to the endowment."
Added Lentz, "It was very important to both Tyler and me to establish a scholarship that would assist a student from a rural community in be able attend such a prestigious school.
"Going to the University of Oregon significantly impacted Tyler's life. Growing up in a remote part of Idaho (Arco), he received an education at Oregon that provided him with the opportunity to return to Sun Valley and become a partner in the largest CPA firm in the community.
"He was actively communicating with the School of Business in encouraging business majors and especially CPA majors to locate in the Wood River Valley. We very much want to encourage college graduates to come back and provide employment and mentoring opportunities."