Some heavy hitters impatient with the pace of change in Oregon's higher education system have formed a new political action committee called Oregonians for Higher Education Excellence.

The directors of the committee—lawyer Jack Faust, Endeavor Capital Managing Director John von Schlegell and Columbia Sportswear CEO Tim Boyle—bring substantial Rolodexes and, in the case of the latter two, lots of money to the project.

Von Schlegell resigned from the state Board of Higher Education three years ago, upset that Oregon continues to disinvest in its seven-campus university system. He was also frustrated the state hamstrings university leadership with a level of legislative management he and other critics say is disproportionate to the amount of money the state gives the higher ed system. 

Boyle, who graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in journalism, says he and his allies are anxious to see the campuses receive greater independence, a shift Gov. John Kitzhaber and some lawmakers have started.