Portland State University: Wikis


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Portland State University
Motto Doctrina urbi serviat
Motto in English Let Knowledge Serve the City
Established 1946
Type Public
Endowment $28.2 million[1]
President Wim Wiewel
Provost Roy W. Koch
Staff 2,248 [1]
Students 24,284
Undergraduates 18,012 [2]
Postgraduates 6,272 [3]
Location Portland, Oregon, United States of America
United StatesOregon

45°30′46″N 122°41′07″W / 45.51278°N 122.68528°W / 45.51278; -122.68528Coordinates: 45°30′46″N 122°41′07″W / 45.51278°N 122.68528°W / 45.51278; -122.68528
Campus Urban
49 acres (198,296) m
Former names Vanport Extension Center (1946)
Portland State College (1955)
Sports 16 Varsity Teams
Colors Green & White         
Nickname Vikings
Mascot Victor E. Viking
Athletics NCAA Division I
Big Sky Conference
Website http://www.pdx.edu
Psulogo horiz spot.png

Portland State University (PSU) is a public state urban university located in downtown Portland, Oregon, United States. Founded in 1946, it has the largest overall enrollment of any university in the state of Oregon, including undergraduate and graduate students. It is also the only public university in the state that is located in a major metropolitan city. Portland State is part of the Oregon University System. The current President is Wim Wiewel, who began his term in August 2008. Its athletic teams are known as the Portland State Vikings with school colors of forest green and white. Teams compete at the NCAA Division I Level, primarily in the Big Sky Conference. Schools at PSU include the Portland State University School of Business Administration, Graduate School of Education, School of Fine and Performing Arts, School of Social Work, College of Urban and Public Affairs, Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science, and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.



The University was established as the Vanport Extension Center in June 1946 to satisfy the demand for higher education in Portland for returning World War II veterans. Classes were held in the vacated-for-summer Vanport Junior High School. This first summer session had 221 students. Over 1410 students registered for the 1946 fall term, which was delayed until October 7 due to a lack of space. Since population in Vanport City, Oregon was decreasing after World War II, the extension center was able to use buildings created for other purposes: two childcare centers, a recreation building with three classrooms, and a shopping center, which required substantial modification to house a library, offices, and six classrooms. Lincoln and Jefferson high schools were used after school hours, as well as the University of Oregon's dental and medical schools, located in Portland, and at Vanport Junior High School.[2]

Following the Vanport Flood of 1948, the college became known as "the college that wouldn't die" for refusing to close after the flood.[2][3] The term was coined by Lois Hennessey, a student who wrote about the college and the flood in the Christian Science Monitor,[2] though students nicknamed the school "The college without a future."[2] The school occupied Grant High School in the summer of 1948,[4] then to hastily-converted buildings at the Oregon Shipyard,[2] known as the Oregon Ship.[3] In 1953,[2], the school moved to downtown Portland and occupied the vacated buildings of Lincoln High School on SW Broadway street, including the "scabby" Lincoln Hall, then known as "Old Main."[5] The school changed its name to the "Portland State Extension Center" between December 1951 and February 1952,[3] and in 1955, the Center changed its name to Portland State College to mark its maturation into a four-year degree-granting institution.[6][3] Students and faculty had began calling the school "Portland State College" by 1952, however.[3] It was also called "The U by the Slough".[5] By 1956, the veterans had subsided, and baby food was no longer stocked in the bookstore.[5]

Portland State University's growth for the next couple of decades was constricted under the ruling that no public university or college in Oregon could duplicate the programs offered by another[citation needed], with grandfathered exclusions for the University of Oregon and Oregon State University. Nevertheless, graduate programs were added in 1961 and doctoral programs were added in 1968. The institution was granted university status by the Oregon State System of Higher Education in 1969, becoming Portland State University.

Lincoln Hall circa 1920, then a high school

In 1994 PSU did away with the traditional undergraduate distribution system and adopted a new interdisciplinary general education program known as University Studies. This program has been controversial both on and off campus, but it is one of the programs at Portland State that has garnered national attention. U.S. News & World Report has on multiple occasions listed University Studies as a "Program to Look For". In 2003 Portland State was approved to award degrees in Black Studies. That same year the university opened a center housed in a new building to support Native American students.

In 2004 Dr. Fariborz Maseeh donated, through The Massiah Foundation, $8 million to the College of Engineering and Computer Science. This was the largest single donation to the University at the time. The college was renamed the Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science.

In May 2004, Portland State announced a joint offering with Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) to establish the nation's first biomedical informatics program. [4]

In early 2005, Representative Mitch Greenlick and others introduced legislation in the Oregon House of Representatives that would have merged Portland State and OHSU. The legislation was met with resistance as it was opposed by the presidents of both universities. Consequently, the bill died. Again, in March 2007, Representative Greenlick introduced HB 3034,[7] a proposal which would remove Portland State from the Oregon University System and merge its governance with OHSU into a Portland Metropolitan Universities Board.[8] A legislative hearing was held on March 19 where representatives from PSU and OHSU opposed the proposal.[9]

In May 2006, Portland State University opened a new engineering building, the "Northwest Center for Engineering, Science and Technology". The new engineering building reflects the university's increased emphasis on engineering, science and technology. The 130,000-square-foot (12,000 m2) facility includes classrooms, offices and 41 research and teaching labs with an environmentally sustainable design.[citation needed]

In September 2008 the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation awarded Portland State University a $25 million challenge grant. The grant is the largest amount in the history of the Foundation and at Portland State. Both the $25 million Miller grant and the funds raised to match it must be used exclusively for sustainability programs. Today, Portland State’s sustainability research and education is focused on four primary areas of inquiry: creating sustainable urban communities, the integration of human societies and the natural environment, implementing sustainability and mechanisms of change and measuring sustainability. Since 1998, the Miller Foundation has also contributed more than $5.3 million to Portland State.


Portland State University

Portland State is the largest and fastest growing school in the Oregon University System.[citation needed] The university is ranked among the "Best in the West" and as a "College With a Conscience" by the Princeton Review. In recent years, Portland State has increasingly added more doctoral programs as it has grown from its original mission as a liberal arts undergraduate college into a more broad-based research university. Recently added doctorates are Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Applied Psychology, Engineering & Technology Management, Mechanical Engineering and Sociology.

Portland State awarded a total of 4,738 degrees for the 2007-08 academic year, including 3,200 bachelor's degrees, 1,485 master's degrees and 53 doctoral degrees.[10]

U.S. News & World Report currently ranks Portland State University in the 4th tier in 2007 as a research university.[11] Portland State University School of Business Administration ranks 22nd on a list of the Global Top 100 Schools in the 2007–2008 edition of 'Beyond Grey Pinstripes,' a biennial ranking of business schools conducted by the Aspen Institute Center for Business Education.[12] The Portland State University School of Business Administration is also ranked in other surveys, such as the Princeton Review's 'Best 143 Business Schools.'


Colleges and schools

Portland State's academic programs are organized into seven major academic units:[13]

  • College of Liberal Arts and Sciences - An array of undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs in over 20 majors, including Anthropology, Applied Linguistics, Biology, Black Studies, Chemistry, Chicano/Latino Studies, Communication, Conflict Resolution, Economics, English, Environmental Programs, Foreign Languages and Literatures, Geography, Geology, History, International Studies, Mathematics and Statistics, Native American Studies, Philosophy, Physics, Psychology, Science Education, Sociology, Speech and Hearing Sciences, and Women's Studies.
  • Portland State University School of Business Administration - Undergraduate and graduate majors include Business Administration, Financial Analysis, and International Management. Postgraduate and certificate programs include Accounting, International Business Studies, and Food Industry Management. The school also offers doctoral programs as part of the Systems Science doctoral program.
  • Graduate School of Education - Graduate programs in initial and continuing licensure, Education (Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle Level, and High School), Educational Leadership, and various specialization programs.
  • Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science - Undergraduate and graduate programs include Civil, Computer, Electrical, Environmental, and Mechanical Engineering, as well as Computer Science. Graduate programs also include Engineering Management, Manufacturing Engineering, Systems Engineering, Software Engineering, and Technology Management. The school also offers doctoral programs as part of the Systems Science and the Environmental Sciences and Resources doctoral programs.
  • School of Fine and Performing Arts - Undergraduate programs include Arts Studies, Architecture, Art, Film, Music, Theater Arts, Art History, Music, Film Studies, and Dance. Graduate studies include Art, Music, Theater Arts, and Secondary Art Education.
  • School of Social Work - The school offers programs in Social Work at the undergraduate and graduate levels, Undergraduate Child and Family Studies, and Doctoral social work programs.
  • College of Urban and Public Affairs - This college is organized in a series of subsidiary schools focusing on various aspects of Urban and Public Affairs:
    • School of Community Health - Undergraduate and graduate studies in Health Studies and Community Health. The school also offers a graduate certificate in Gerontology.
    • Mark O. Hatfield School of Government - Undergraduate and graduate studies in Criminology/Criminal Justice, Political Science, and Public Administration. Institutes include the Criminal Justice Research Policy Institute, Executive Leadership Institute, Institute for Nonprofit Management, National Policy Consensus Center, Institute for Tribal Administration, and the Center for Turkish Studies.
    • Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning - Undergraduate programs include a major and minor in Community Development, and minors in Real Estate Development and Sustainable Urban Development. Graduate certificates include Real Estate Development, Transportation, and Urban Design. Graduate studies include Urban Studies, as well as Urban and Regional Planning. Institutes include the Center for Urban Studies, Institute of Portland Metropolitan Studies, Center for Population Research Census, Center for Real Estate, and the Center for Transportation Studies.

Student life

The South Park Blocks of Portland run through PSU's central campus.

Portland State differs from the other universities in Oregon partially because as an urban institution it attracts a student body older than other rural universities. In the 2006-2007 school year, it was reported that the average age of an attending student was 25 years. A significant percentage of Portland State's classes are offered at night and Saturdays. Indeed, some programs only offer classes at night. PSU also delayed the development of its campus for decades after its founding. The institution sold land in a neighboring block soon after its move to downtown Portland, and delayed the construction of student housing until the early 1970s.

While the mean age of students is near the mid twenties, increasing traditional enrollment is lowering the average student age. Ambitious mixed-use building projects (commercial, educational, residential) by the university are purposed to attract younger students. These projects preserve downtown shops and businesses while transforming the university from a "commuter campus" to a mix between a commuter and a traditional campus. Recently completed residences include the Stephen Epler Hall and The Broadway. Further steps toward increasing housing capacity — and university control over its own housing — are being taken with plans for further construction, and with PSU taking over management of the residence halls it currently owns. Optional residential and social opportunities exist with a small but active Greek system, which includes Alpha Chi Omega, Kappa Sigma, Phi Delta Theta, Phi Sigma Sigma, Tau Kappa Epsilon and Phi Gamma Nu.[5]

In March 2007, Portland State University took over the managing of the on-campus housing at Portland State University. College Housing Northwest, which has previously managed the on-campus housing buildings (including The Broadway, Stephen Epler Hall, West Hall, King Albert, St. Helens, Montgomery Court, and Ondine) for over 30 years, will still maintain its off-campus housing (including Goose Hollow, The Palidian, The Cambrian, and Clay).

The student government is the Associated Students of Portland State University (ASPSU). In addition to a student body President and Vice President, there is a Student Fee Committee, a 25-member Student Senate chaired by the Vice President, and a Judicial Board which rules on ASPSU constitutional questions. There are also a number of university committees that have student members appointed by the ASPSU President.[6] Portland State also participates in the Oregon Student Association, the statewide student lobbying non-profit.

The student newspaper at Portland State is the Daily Vanguard, a fully student-run newspaper established in 1946. The student run radio station is KPSU. "The Portland Review" is a literary magazine of poetry, fiction and art published by PSU's Student Publications Board. Additional student newspapers at PSU are The Rearguard, an alternative-monthly newspaper, and The Spectator.

The 1.3 million volume Branford Price Millar Library is located in the center of campus, and offers an open microcomputer lab. The Branford Price Millar Library is a repository for federal documents.

Portland State University is served by the MAX Green Line, the Portland Streetcar, Trimet buses, and by Oregon Health & Science University and Portland Community College Shuttles on SW Harrison Street at SW Broadway.

Among a number of student managed club sports on campus are the PSU Rugby Club, the PSU Ice Hockey Club and the PSU Lacrosse Club.


Portland State Vikings

Portland State is a member of the Big Sky Conference (joining in 1996), Pac-10 Conference in wrestling and the Pacific Coast Softball Conference. PSU competes at the NCAA Division I level in basketball, women's volleyball, golf and soccer, wrestling, tennis, softball, indoor and outdoor track and field and cross country. Football competes at the Division I AA (or Football Championship Subdivision) level.

Prior to joining Division I, the school won NCAA National Division II Championships in women's volleyball and wrestling. The school has also placed second twice nationally in football and once in women's basketball at the Division II level.

Portland State's colors are forest green and white, and its mascot is the Viking personified as "Victor E. Viking". Purple was originally a school color but was dropped in favor of green and white.

Among the two more notable former Portland State athletes are Freeman Williams and Neil Lomax. Freeman Williams was the NCAA Division I national men's basketball individual scoring leader in 1977 and 1978. Neil Lomax was a record setting quarterback who went on to star for the then St. Louis Cardinals in the NFL. Football's "Run & Shoot" offense was first implemented at the college level at PSU by then coach Darryl "Mouse" Davis. Davis' quarterback protégés were Lomax and June Jones.

Home games for football are held off-campus at PGE Park, and home games for basketball are held on-campus at the Peter W. Stott Center. In 2008, the men's basketball team earned their first ever bid into the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship.

Notable faculty

Notable students


In 2006, Portland State was declared to be the nation's first Salmon Safe University by the nonprofit organization Salmon Safe. The award was given to recognize campus-wide efforts toward environmental sustainability by treating storm water runoff before it reaches the local watershed.[21]

On June 3, 2008, The Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Partner Foundation announced Portland State as the recipient of The Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Partnership Award for Campus-Community Collaboration for their Watershed Stewardship Program. The program has led over 27,000 community volunteers donating a quarter million hours to install 80,000 plants and restore 50 acres (200,000 m2) of watershed along two miles (3 km) of river. Individual projects have been led and supported by 700 students working as part of class projects, resulting in two master's theses and three research articles.[22]

College Bowl

Portland State's entry in the 1965 General Electric College Bowl Team won the nationally televised quiz show that pitted teams of college students from across the country against each other. The team knocked off its competitors for five consecutive weeks, retiring as champions, and setting a new record for total points scored. The University's Smith Memorial Student Union building was named after team member Michael J. Smith, who competed in the tournament while suffering from cystic fibrosis and died in 1968.[23]



  1. ^ As of June 30, 2009. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2009 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2008 to FY 2009" (PDF). 2009 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. http://www.nacubo.org/Documents/research/2009_NCSE_Public_Tables_Endowment_Market_Values.pdf. Retrieved February 16, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Epler, Stephen E. (1980-02-14). John Eliot Allen. ed. Portland State University: The First 25 Years: 1955-1980. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Dodds, Gordon B (2000). The College That Would Not Die. ISBN 0875952747. 
  4. ^ Polich, Edward L. (1950). A history of Portland's secondary school system with emphasis on the superintendents and the curriculum (Thesis/dissertation). University of Portland. p. 161. OCLC 232551057. 
  5. ^ a b c Terry, John (1996-02-15). "PSU AT 50: YOUNG PSU PERKED WITH VITALITY OF MIND (1 of 8 parts)". The Oregonian. 
  6. ^ Chronological History of the Institutions of the Oregon University System, pdf
  7. ^ Relating to integration of Portland State University and Oregon Health and Science University; creating new provisions; amending ORS 97.170, 174.108, 181.871, 190.410, 192
  8. ^ A world-class university? - News
  9. ^ Legislative Update
  10. ^ "Portland State News". http://www.pdx.edu/news/20587/. Retrieved 2008-06-11. 
  11. ^ "National universities: Tier 4". US News.com. http://www.usnews.com/usnews/edu/college/rankings/brief/t4natudoc_brief.php. Retrieved 2007-03-01. 
  12. ^ "Beyond grey pinstripes". The Aspen Institute Center for Business Education. http://www.beyondgreypinstripes.org/index.cfm. Retrieved October 11, 2007. 
  13. ^ "Bulletin 2008-2009" (PDF). Portland State University. http://www.pdx.edu/sites/www.pdx.edu.registration/files/media_assets/reg_bulletin_2008_2009.pdf. Retrieved June 22, 2009. 
  14. ^ Saker, Anne (2010-01-11). "Portland State prof takes on a new kind of museum: one on the Internet using a Wikipedia model". The Oregonian. http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2010/01/portland_state_prof_takes_on_a.html. Retrieved 2010-01-12. 
  15. ^ AFMS - Transportation Intelligence is our Business
  16. ^ State department bio of Joseph LeBaron
  17. ^ U.S. Envoy "Thrilled to Return to Qatar"
  18. ^ Entertainment Weekly, 1994: The Power of Love
  19. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:g9fwxqe0ld6e~T1
  20. ^ http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/musicnightlife/2004125035_jazzinjan150.html
  21. ^ Krader, Sascha (2006-08-09). "PSU first 'salmon safe' university". Vanguard. http://media.www.dailyvanguard.com/media/storage/paper941/news/2006/08/09/News/Psu-First.salmon.Safe.University-2606893.shtml. Retrieved 2007-10-12. 
  22. ^ Portland State | News | Portland State Wins First U.S. National Carter Foundation Partnership Award
  23. ^ http://www.aux.pdx.edu/auxiliary/message.php

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