The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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Pat Stone Oral History Interview

Life history interview conducted by Janice Dilg.

July 2, 2015


Patrick F. Stone was born in 1947 in Vancouver, Washington and grew up in a rural area on the edge of the Badlands of North Dakota. When he was eighteen, his family returned to the West Coast.

After high school, Stone attended a year of college, but ultimately decided to enlist in the United States Army, which he entered in February 1967. Assigned to the Army’s electronic intelligence division, Stone completed two tours of duty in Vietnam. In October 1970, he received his discharge from the military and moved to a cabin in the woods near Ashland, Oregon. Stone spent the next couple of years readjusting to civilian life and taking classes at Southern Oregon College (now Southern Oregon University).

While at Southern Oregon, Stone heard OSU History professor William Appleman Williams deliver a talk on his influential book, The Tragedy of American Diplomacy. Williams' presentation captivated Stone and spurred an interest in attending Oregon State University, where Williams was teaching. Stone transferred to OSU in 1973 and studied history. While in Corvallis, Stone met Mark Sponenburgh, an art history professor who catalyzed Stone's interest in art and art collecting. Stone also participated in an archaeological dig with Professor Richard Ross, another influential professor.

After completing his OSU degree in 1974, Stone took a few summer courses and considered enrolling in graduate school, but ultimately chose to spend some time in Mexico working as an oyster diver. When he returned to the U.S., Stone found work as a title examiner trainee with Smith Barney. This line of work turned out to be too slow-paced, so he quit after six months and pursued a new job as a stockbroker trainee. After two years trading stocks, he returned to the title business; this time he focused on the sales side and it was there that he found his career niche.

Stone was employed by Stewart Title for about ten years, working his way up the ladder to district manager and partial owner of multiple operations. In 1989 he switched companies to Fidelity National Financial, and after six years there, he became President and Chief Operating Officer. In 2002 he was promoted again, to Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity National Information Services.

In 2004, after nine years in executive positions at Fidelity, Stone stepped down as CEO. He and his nephew then founded The Stone Group, a commercial real estate brokerage, consulting, and investment firm, with Stone serving as Chairman of the Board. He likewise became the Vice Chairman of Metrocities Mortgage LLC and joined the OSU Foundation's Board of Trustees. He received the E.B. Lemon Award from the OSU Alumni Association in January 2009 and became chair-elect of the Foundation board that year as well. In 2010, after a few years of retirement from the private sector, Stone started a new company, Williston Financial Group, a full-service provider of title insurance and real estate settlement services.

Stone's public association with OSU grew in profile when he agreed to co-chair the Campaign for OSU, a major fundraising initiative that received its public launch in fall 2007 and concluded at the end of 2014, having raised more than $1.1 billion to support university initiatives. Stone himself made a noteworthy financial contribution by endowing the Stone Award for Lifetime Literary Achievement, an prize honoring "a major American author who has created a body of critically acclaimed literary work and has been a dedicated mentor to succeeding generations of young writers." Among other initiatives, Stone has also provided support to the OSU History department's Citizenship in Crisis lecture and seminar series.

In 2013 Stone was named one of the year's "100 Most Influential People in Real Estate" by Inman News. He completed an eleven-year run of service to the OSU Foundation in June 2015 when his term as immediate past chair ended. An avid art collector, Stone has volunteered as a trustee of the Portland Art Museum and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. He has likewise served on the boards of several private companies.