Portland State University
MottoDoctrina urbi serviat
Motto in EnglishLet Knowledge Serve the City
Endowment$40 million[1]
PresidentWim Wiewel
ProvostSona Karentz Andrews
Academic staff2,592 [2]
Admin. staff1,632 [3]
Undergraduates23,222 [2]
Postgraduates6,481 [2]
LocationPortland, Oregon, United States of America
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Former namesVanport Extension Center (1946)
Portland State College (1955)
ColorsGreen & White         [1]
AthleticsNCAA Division I
Big Sky Conference
Sports16 varsity teams
MascotVictor E. Viking

Portland State University (PSU) is a public state urban research university located in downtown Portland, Oregon, United States. Founded in 1946, it has the largest overall undergraduate and graduate enrollment of any university in the state of Oregon, and is also the only public university in the state that is located in a major metropolitan city. Portland State offers Bachelor's and Master's degrees, as well as doctorates in seventeen fields. Portland State is part of the Oregon University System (OUS).

The athletic teams are known as the Portland State Vikings with school colors of green and white. Teams compete at the NCAA Division I Level, primarily in the Big Sky Conference. Schools at Portland State include the School of Business Administration, Graduate School of Education, College the 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 has been nationally noted for its programs in MBA (Master's of Business Administration) and urban planning.[2]


Portland State 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, taking advantage of the G.I. Bill. The G.I. Bill was passed in 1944 to provide college, high school or vocational education for returning World War II veterans, as well as one year of unemployment compensation. Classes were held in the Vanport Junior High School. This first summer session had 221 students, and tuition and fees were $50. Over 1,410 students registered for the 1946 fall term, which was delayed until October 7, 1946 due to a lack of space. Since the 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. In addition to Vanport Junior High School,[3] 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.

Following the May 30 Vanport Flood of 1948, the college became known as "the college that wouldn't die" for refusing to close after the flood.[3][4] The term was coined by Lois Hennessy, a student who wrote about the college and the flood in the Christian Science Monitor,[3] though students nicknamed the school "The college without a future."[3] (Hennessy was the mother of poet Gary Snyder.) The school occupied Grant High School in the summer of 1948,[5] then to hastily converted buildings at the Oregon Shipyard,[3] known as the Oregon Ship.[4] In 1953,[3] the school moved to downtown Portland and occupied the vacated buildings of Lincoln High School on SW Broadway street, including Lincoln Hall, then known as "Old Main."[6] The school changed its name to the Portland State Extension Center between December 1951 and February 1952,[4] and in 1955, the Center changed its name to Portland State College to mark its maturation into a four-year degree-granting institution.[4][7] It was also called "The U by the Slough".[6] By 1956, the veterans had subsided, and baby food was no longer stocked in the bookstore.[6]

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.[8]

Portland State University's growth for the next couple of decades was restricted under the Oregon University System's 1929 ruling that no public university or college in Oregon could duplicate the programs offered by another, with grandfathered exclusions for the University of Oregon and Oregon State University.[9] Nevertheless, graduate programs were added in 1961 and doctoral programs were added in 1968. The institution was granted university status by the Oregon State Board of Higher Education in 1969, becoming Portland State University.

File:Lincoln High School Portland Oregon 1920.jpg

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 due to some evidence that University Studies does not produce students who are adept at writing at the college level[citation needed], but it is one of the programs at Portland State that has garnered national attention for its learning communities, service-learning, senior capstones, and successful retention of first-year students.[10] 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. The college was renamed the Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science. This was the largest single donation to the University at the time and this gift along with others led to, in May 2006, the opening of a new engineering building, the "Northwest Center for Engineering, Science and Technology" which houses much of the College. The LEED gold-certified engineering building reflects the university's increased emphasis on engineering, science and technology. The Script error facility includes classrooms, offices and 41 research and teaching labs.[1]

In May 2004, Portland State announced a joint offering with Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) to establish the nation's first biomedical informatics program.[2]

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.[3]

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 Script error of watershed along Script error Script error (Script error Script error) 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.[1]

In September 2008 the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation awarded Portland State University a $25 million challenge grant. 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, led by Jennifer Allen, director of the Portland State Institute for Sustainable Solutions, 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.


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Portland State is the largest and fastest growing school in the Oregon University System.[2] The university has a dual enrollment agreement with Portland Community College that allows students of the two schools to take courses at either school.[3] According to the U.S. News & World Report, as of 2012, Portland State has an overall acceptance rate of 70%,[4] which is considered to be selective for a state university.[4]

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, Applied Physics, Computer Science, Applied Psychology, Engineering & Technology Management, Mechanical Engineering, and Sociology.

Portland State awarded a total of 5,784 degrees for the 2010-11 academic year, including 3,945 bachelor degrees, 1,783 master degrees and 56 doctoral degrees.[5]


U.S. News & World Report currently ranks Portland State as a second tier research university in their 2013 report.[4] The university is ranked among The Best 376 Colleges in its 2012 edition, "Best in the West",[6] and as a "College With a Conscience" [7] by The Princeton Review. Portland State's MBA (Master's of Business Administration) was ranked in the top 100 by The Princeton Review,[8] who also named Portland State as one of the best institutions in the country for undergraduate education.[9]

Portland State University's School of Business Administration ranks 14th on a list of the Global Top 100 Schools in the 2011–2012 edition of Beyond Grey Pinstripes, a biennial ranking of business schools conducted by the Aspen Institute Center for Business Education.[10] The School of Business Administration is also ranked in other surveys, such as The Princeton Review's Best 294 Business Schools.[11]

U.S. News & World Report currently ranks Portland State University's graduate Urban & Regional Planning Program as the 14th best in the Nation.[12] Planetizen currently ranks the University's graduate Urban & Regional Planning Program, at the Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning, within the top 25 best urban planning programs in the nation.[13]

Other top programs/colleges at Portland State University include its graduate College of Urban and Public Affairs which is ranked 46th in the nation, its Rehabilitation Counseling and Social Work graduate degrees ranked 23rd and 33rd respectively, its Speech-Language Pathology program is ranked 62nd, as well as its Graduate School of Education is ranked as being among the "Best" by U.S. News & World Report.[14] It is also listed by U.S. News & World Report as having one of The Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs.[14]

The university is also ranked by Washington Monthly as 7th for Community Service, the Carnegie Foundation ranked PSU as a Top School in Curricular Engagement, Outreach, and Partnerships, and it is ranked as the 9th Best Neighbor Universities. It is also listed by U.S. News & World Report as having one of The Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs.[15]

Aside from academics, Portland State University is world renowned for its sustainability and green initiatives. PSU has a Gold STARS Rating for Sustainability,[16] is ranked among the Nation's Top Green Schools and has a Top Green Business School ranking by The Princeton Review, it is also home to no less that 7 LEED certified schools.[15] Lincoln Hall in snow 20081214 - Portland State University - Portland Oregon.jpg

Colleges and schoolsEdit

Portland State University's academic programs are organized into seven major academic units:[17]
  • 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.
  • 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 Architecture, Art, Art History, Arts Studies, Film, Film Studies, Music, Theater Arts, and Dance. Graduate studies include Architecture, 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.

In addition, Portland State University, through the School of Extended Studies, offers continuing education and special learning activities, including credit courses, degree-completion programs, distance-learning courses, noncredit community programs, re-licensure, certifications, high school courses, summer programs, and online study.

Student lifeEdit

File:PSU campus in spring 07.JPG

Portland State differs from the other universities in Oregon partially because, as an urban institution, it attracts a student body older than rural universities. In the 2010–2011 school year, it was reported that the average age of an attending undergraduate student was 25 years. A significant percentage of Portland State's classes are offered at night and Saturdays. Some programs only offer night classes. 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 27, increasing traditional enrollment is lowering the average student age.[18] Mixed-use building projects (commercial, educational, residential) by the university preserve downtown shops and businesses while transforming the university from a "commuter campus" to a mix between a commuter and a traditional residential 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, Alpha Epsilon Pi, Alpha Phi Alpha, Kappa Sigma, Phi Delta Theta, Phi Sigma Sigma, Alpha Kappa Psi and Phi Gamma Nu.[19]

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.[20] Portland State also participates in the Oregon Student Association, the statewide student lobbying non-profit.

File:Branford Price Millar Library front.JPG
The fully student-run newspaper at Portland State is the Daily Vanguard, established in 1946. Student-run broadcasters run radio station KPSU, and television station PSU TV. The Portland Review is a literary magazine of poetry, fiction, and art published by PSU's Student Publications Board since 1956.[21] Additional student newspapers at PSU are The Rearguard, an alternative-monthly newspaper, and The Spectator.

The 1.3 million volume Millar Library is located in the center of campus, and offers an open microcomputer lab. The Millar Library is a repository for federal documents.[22] The building's unique concave shape is due in part to student activism to save a large elm which was slated for removal.

Portland State University has mass transit by MAX Green Line, MAX Yellow Line, Portland Streetcar, Trimet buses, and by Oregon Health & Science University and Portland Community College shuttles on SW Harrison Street at SW Broadway.

In 2010, the University opened a Gold LEED Certified Student Rec Center that houses an aquatics center, climbing wall, basketball/volleyball/badminton courts, an indoor soccer court, a large fitness area, and an outdoor program. The University has 30 student managed club sports on campus including the PSU Rugby Club, the PSU Ice Hockey Club and the PSU Lacrosse Club. In addition, the Student Activities and Leadership Program sponsors 120 student clubs including the Tango, Fencing, Medieval and Brewers clubs.


File:Victor E. Viking.jpg

Script error Portland State is a member of the Big Sky Conference since 1996, Pac-12 Conference in wrestling, and the Pacific Coast Softball Conference. PSU competes at the NCAA Division I level in basketball, women's volleyball, golf, 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 green and white, and its mascot is the Viking personified as "Victor E. Viking". 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 St. Louis Cardinals in the NFL in the mid-1980s. Football's "Run & Shoot" offense was first implemented at the college level at PSU by coach Darryl "Mouse" Davis. An assistant coach at Portland State, Davis took over as Head Coach in 1975 following the departure of Ron Stratten. Behind his revolutionary new "Run-and-Shoot" offense (developed in the late 1960s at Hillsboro (OR)HS) and a strong-armed quarterback named June Jones, Davis led the Viking program to new heights - an 8-3 record, including a perfect 5-0 home mark. Davis' quarterback protégés were Lomax and Jones.

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

Notable peopleEdit

Faculty and staffEdit

Alumni and studentsEdit


References Edit

  1. "Portland State University Department of Computer Science Faculty". Retrieved 16 Jan 2011.
  2. "ACM: Fellows Award / David Maier". Retrieved 16 Jan 2011.
  3. 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. Retrieved 2010-01-12.
  4. "BaSiC Inititive / Sergio Palleroni". Retrieved 9 May 2011.
  5. "Asynchronous Research Center". Retrieved 16 Jan 2010.
  6. "ACM Award Citation / Ivan Sutherland". Retrieved 16 Jan 2011.
  7. "Issa's Global Conspiracy". Willamette Week
  8. "World Extreme Cagefighting: Dave Jansen". Retrieved 26 July 2010.
  9. 2008 CEO Compensation for D. Scott Davis,
  10. Clint Didier NFL Football Statistics -
  11. AFMS - Transportation Intelligence is our Business
  12. State department bio of Joseph LeBaron
  13. U.S. Envoy "Thrilled to Return to Qatar"
  14. Entertainment Weekly, 1994: The Power of Love
  15. Kirkland, Kathryn (2010-06-10). "Portland State Portland State Magazine: News: Fanfare: Spring 2010". Retrieved 13 July 2010.
  16. "Oregon Olympic wrestler dies". The Bulletin (Bend). 20 October 1972. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  18. de Barros, Paul (2008-01-15). "A hopeful outlook for jazz". The Seattle Times.
  19. Smith, Rob (November 25, 2010). "Norm Winningstad dies at age 85". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved 2 December 2010.

External links Edit

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