Richard P. Haugland, a major financial supporter of Eugene arts organizations, died last night in Thailand after a battle with brain cancer, according to his friends at the Eugene Ballet. He was 73.
With his wife, Rosaria, Haugland was a founder of the Eugene hi-tech business Molecular Probes. With the profits from that company, the couple created charitable foundations that have given large gifts to Eugene Ballet as well as to Oregon Contemporary Theatre and Eugene Opera, among other organizations.
“I first got to know them when their daughter, Marina, studied ballet at our school over 30 years ago,” Eugene Ballet Artistic Director Toni Pimble said today. “He was a very generous, kind and thoughtful man whose philanthropic gifts spread far beyond Eugene. His generous soul touched all who knew him. He will be sincerely missed.”
The Hauglands supported the ballet in its early years and, more recently, gave more substantial gifts that enabled the organization to purchase the building that became the Midtown Art Center on South Willamette Street.
Later he offered funding to Pimble and the company to create a new children’s ballet, and the result was 2013’s “Mowgli, the Jungle Book Ballet.” Pleased with what he saw at the premiere, he immediately offered to support a second new show.
With a $200,000 grant from the Richard P. Haugland Foundation, the ballet is currently at work on an all-new production of “The Snow Queen,” which will premiere here in April.
“We are so very sad that Richard will not see the results of his support for this second work,” Pimble said.
In recent years, Haugland lived in Thailand, where he supported – both financially and with hands-on work – needy children and orphans.
“Eugene is fortunate that he and Rosaria chose to grow their company here and to simultaneously play major roles in the growth of several of Eugene’s arts groups,” said Craig Willis, artistic director of Oregon Contemporary Theatre. “What I find even more inspiring was his dedication to improving the lives of AIDS orphans in Thailand. He so clearly loved these children and found joy in enriching the lives of people who might otherwise be cast-offs.”