Search Google Appliance

Meet the PSU Board of Trustees

Swati Adarkar

A recognized leader, adviser and spokesperson on early childhood issues, Adarkar is president and CEO of the Children's Institute based in Portland, Oregon. Adarkar has a wealth of experience in research, communications, child advocacy and public policy development. Adarkar has helped shape the growth of the Children's Institute since its inception, first serving as vice president of research and communications. Prior to that, she advised nonprofit organizations on public policy and communications, served as policy director for Children First for Oregon, and was director of community affairs for Children Now. An instrumental leader in the 2007 expansion of Oregon Head Start Prekindergarten, Adarkar also helped lead the successful campaign for first time state funding for Early Head Start in 2010. She also served on Oregon’s first Early Childhood Matters Advisory Council for Governor Kulongoski and on Governor Kitzhaber’s Early Childhood and Family Investment Transition Team. Adarkar has a master's degree in public administration from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government and a bachelor's degree in communications studies from UCLA.


Erica Bestpitch

Bestpitch has been a member of the Portland State community since 2010. During her time in the conflict resolution master’s program, she served students and staff by providing direct services, training, and education through the then-named Student Center for Dispute Resolution. Since graduating, Bestpitch has worked as the administrative program assistant to both the C.A.R.E. Team and the Conduct & Community Standards Office under the Dean of Student Life. Bestpitch currently serves as the Administrative Coordinator of the Women's Resource Center, which advocates for the best educational and campus experience for all PSU students. Bestpitch is also the secretary for SEIU 503 Local 89. Since 2011, Bestpitch has designed and led conflict resolution trainings for Janus Youth Programs, Job Corps training centers, and other community-based organizations. Bestpitch says her work at PSU is informed by her “dedication to social justice, collaboration, and creativity,” and that she is “passionate about education that promotes a greater quality of life for all.” Bestpitch earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology at Scripps College in Claremont, California.

Gale Castillo

Castillo is the president and one of the founders of the Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber, the largest Hispanic Chamber in the Northwest with over 800 members. Castillo is also the co-owner of Cascade Centers, Inc., one of the largest privately held companies that provides Employee Assistance Program (EAP) service and staff development in the U.S. In addition to her work with the Chamber and Cascade Centers, Castillo previously worked as an assistant to former Oregon Gov. Neil Goldschmidt and as the state manager of the Oregon Economic Development Department's Job Training Administration. In the private sector, Castillo has worked for AT&T, Pacific Northwest Bell, and RESTOR Communications in management, marketing, and national sales positions. The recipient of many awards for service to her community, Castillo is the first in her family to graduate from college receiving a Bachelor of Arts, Linfield College and a Masters of Arts, Education, Portland State University. Castillo has also completed Harvard Kennedy School’s Executive Education Program.


Sho Dozono

A graduate of Portland State, Dozono is the president and CEO of Azumano Travel. A prominent member of the Portland business community and an active civic leader, Dozono was born in Japan and moved to Portland with his family when he was 10. He attended Cleveland High School and earned his bachelor’s degree in education and history from the University of Washington. He later went on to earn a master’s degree in education from PSU and to teach social studies at Grant High School for five years. Dozono joined his father-in-law’s business, Azumano Travel, in the mid-70s, becoming president in 1981. Dozono founded the Portland School Foundation and organized a massive march in support of school funding in the late 1990s, which helped raise millions of dollars to save teaching positions. A strong advocate of diversity and equal opportunity, Dozono has served as co-chair of the Oregon League of Minority Voters, the US-Japan Council, the Portland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, and the Portland Oregon Visitors Association, among other organizations. He is known as an advocate for Oregon as both a travel and tourism destination as well as an ideal location for business and investment opportunities.


Maria Carolina Gonzalez-Prats

Maria Carolina Gonzalez-Prats

Gonzalez-Prats served in the U.S. Army from 1998-2004, both as an enlisted reservist and an active-duty commissioned officer. She has focused her advocacy and activism efforts on raising awareness of the challenges veterans face when transitioning from military to civilian life while ensuring veterans and their families have access to resources and support during the transition. Since joining the PSU community in 2012, she has initiated partnerships across various departments, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, serving as an intern in the Learning Center, a teaching assistant in the University Studies “College Success” program, a volunteer scholarship reviewer, and a graduate assistant in the Veteran’s Resource Center. Currently Gonzalez-Prats is a full-time student, working towards her Ph.D. at PSU’s School of Social Work and Social Research (SSW). Her doctoral research focuses on exploring the impact of gender exclusionary policies on the rates of military sexual trauma (MST). She also serves as a peer mentor for first year Ph.D. students and as a student representative on the SSW Ph.D. committee. Gonzalez-Prats has a masters degree of psychology in organization development from Sonoma State University, and a bachelors degree in both sociology and public justice from the State University of New York (SUNY), College at Oswego. She is the 2014 recipient of PSU’s President’s Award for University Service.


Maude Hines 

A recent past-presiding officer of the PSU Faculty Senate, Dr. Hines is an associate professor of English. Dr. Hines specializes in American Literature. Her teaching and research focuses on Anglo-American Children's Literature, African American Literature, and Cultural Studies. Dr. Hines is currently completing a manuscript on citizen formation in late nineteenth-century American children's literature. She is also working on a project about the treatment of racial transformation in American cultural production. Her published work includes articles on Philip Pullman, Alice Walker and Paule Marshall, Ecocriticism in Children's Literature, and Louisa May Alcott. In addition to her leadership role on the PSU Faculty Senate, Dr. Hines is currently PSU’s lead representative to the OUS Interinstitutional Faculty Senate and IFS representative to the OUS Provost's Council. Dr. Hines received her B.A. from The City College of New York in 1992 and her Ph.D. from Duke University in 1998. Dr. Hines has served on the PSU faculty since 2000. 


Thomas J. Imeson (Vice-Chairman of the Board)

Thomas J. Imeson, has worked for NW Natural Gas as their Vice President for Public Affairs since March, 2014.  Also a member of the PSU Foundation Board of Directors, Imeson was employed at the Port of Portland as their director of public affairs from 2006 to 2014. Prior to this, Imeson founded his own consulting firm in 2000 and was appointed by Governor Kulongoski to serve on the Port Commission in 2003. Mr. Imeson has served with three Oregon Governors. He was chief of staff for Governor Goldschmidt from 1987 to 1991 and served on the transition teams for both Governor Kitzhaber and Governor Kulongoski. He spent 16 years on Senator Mark Hatfield’s staff serving in a variety of positions including Oregon field director and a member of the staff of the Senate Energy and Senate Appropriations Committees. His private sector experience, in addition to his consulting practice, includes 11 years with PacifiCorp, first as federal affairs manager and then as a vice president. Imeson’s civic involvement has included committee and board work with Oregon Environmental Council, Oregon Health & Science University, the Oregon Chapter of the Nature Conservancy, Cascade Aids Project, Oregon Land Conservation and Development Commission and the Oregon Board of Higher Education, where he served as president of the board. He is currently chair of the Oregon Board of Forestry, a gubernatorial appointment.  Imeson received a bachelor’s degree from Johns Hopkins University.


Margaret D. Kirkpatrick

Kirkpatrick served as General Counsel of Northwest Natural Gas Co. from June 2005 through 2014 and is now the Company’s Senior Vice President of Environmental Affairs.  Before coming to NW Natural, she was a partner with Stoel Rives, LLP, a law firm she had been associated with since 1983.  She previously served as a law clerk for Oregon Court of Appeals Judge W. Michael (“Mick”) Gillette.  Kirkpatrick currently is on the board of directors of Associated Oregon Industries, where she sits on the executive committee and chairs the task force on education and work force training. She is also on the boards of the Classroom Law Project, and the Nature Conservancy. Kirkpatrick has a Bachelor’s degree from the College of Wooster, a JD from Lewis and Clark College and an LLM from the University of Edinburgh.


Irving Levin

Levin is a serial entrepreneur and the Chairman of Genesis Financial Solutions. He divides his time between Genesis, investing in and mentoring small independent companies, and a variety of non-profit activities. Before founding Genesis, he started and led Renaissance Holdings, a credit card business which grew to 1400 employees before he sold it to Household International (now HSBC) in 2000. Before that he started the first credit card bank in the U.S. for ITT Financial. Through his investment vehicle Fluffco LLC, he is an active angel investor with direct investments in a large number of entrepreneurial companies. He serves as an informal mentor to many CEOs, and serves on the Boards of Directors of several private companies. Levin has served on the Providence St. Vincent Hospital’s and Portland State University’s Foundation Boards, SMART, The Children’s Institute and a number of Portland area institutions. He is currently the Chairman of Digital Divide Data, a social enterprise in the IT industry which recruits, trains and hires hundreds of impoverished young people in Cambodia, Laos and Kenya. He and his wife, Stephanie Fowler, are co-Trustees of The Renaissance Foundation which focuses on enhancing educational opportunities for first generation and financially needy students. Levin has a B.A. and an MBA from the University of Chicago.


Fariborz Maseeh

Dr. Maseeh is the founder and president of The Massiah Foundation, a charitable organization which invests in programs that can result in broad public benefits in education, health or arts and culture. He is also the founder of Kids Institute for Development and Advancement and an investment firm, Orbitron LP, Picoco LLC, and is the founder, president and CEO of IntelliSense Corp. A first-generation immigrant from Iran who arrived in America at the age of 18, Dr. Maseeh attended Portland State University where he earned a bachelor of science degree in engineering and a master’s degree in applied mathematics. He went on to receive a second master’s in engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and his doctorate in civil engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A generous philanthropist as well as a creative entrepreneur, Dr. Maseeh has donated $12 million to PSU in recent years. The College of Engineering and Computer Science, to which he donated $8 million, is now named the Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science. Dr. Maseeh has published numerous scientific articles and serves on the board of several technology firms and engineering advisory boards at MIT, USC and PSU.


Rick Miller (Karl R. Miller, Jr.)

Rick Miller is a seventh generation Oregonian committed to starting and growing businesses. In 2010 Miller co-founded the private equity firm Rogue Investment Partners to provide other entrepreneurs in Oregon with funding and mentorship. Rick is also the founder and chairman of Avamere Group, one of the Northwest's largest senior care and housing providers with an employee base of more than 7,000 and revenue's approaching 1/2 billion dollars. Miller serves on the boards of ID Experts and Diabetomics and is past chairman of the American Health Care Organization, the Oregon Health Care Association and the Portland-based chapter of the Young Presidents’ Organization. Miller also is co-chair of Portland State University’s School of Business Administration Building Campaign. Miller was recognized in Portland Business Journal’s “Forty Under 40” in 2004 and his company was selected as one of “Oregon’s Most Admired Companies” in 2010. He also was honored as the 2012 Distinguished Graduate Alumnus by the PSU School of Business Administration, and he and his wife, Erika, recently received the Simon Benson Award for philanthropy. Miller earned his bachelor’s degree in marketing and management from the University of Oregon and his MBA in 1991 from Portland State.


 Pete Nickerson (Chairman of the Board)

A past-chair of the PSU Foundation Board of Directors, Nickerson is the co-founder and principal of Chinus Asset Management. The former general manager of Nike in China, Nickerson is a fluent Mandarin speaker who has conducted business throughout Asia and lived for extended periods in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore.  He has also founded and developed trading, investing and manufacturing businesses that currently generate over $1 billion of sales and directly employ over 100,000 people. Nickerson has been deeply involved in both the Asian and American public and private equity markets over the past four decades and has built an extensive network in Asia through his role as director of Growth-Link Overseas Company, a Hong Kong–based investment firm he co-founded in 1988. Nickerson currently serves as a board member for Feng Tay Enterprises (TW9910) a publicly listed company on the Taiwan Stock Exchange and is a former board director of Cascade Corporation (CASC) on the NYSE. Nickerson holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Oregon.


Peter W. Stott

Stott has been president of Columbia Investments, Ltd. since 1983. He also served as the vice chairman and a principal of the real estate private equity firm ScanlanKemperBard Companies from 2005 to 2010 and as CEO of that company from 2008 to 2010. Stott was formerly president and CEO of Crown Pacific from 1988 to 2004. Stott founded Market Transport, Ltd. in 1969, the largest “asset-based” transportation and logistics services company headquartered in Oregon, and served as chairman and CEO of the company until 2006. Stott is a member of the board of directors of the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, member of the Founder's Circle of SOLV, and trustee of the Portland Art Museum.  Stott also serves on the board of directors for Con-way Inc. (NYSE: CNW), the nation’s third-largest less-than-truckload carrier; Gerding/Edlen Development Company, a Portland based commercial real estate development firm; River Point Farms, America's largest onion grower; and Omega Morgan, an industrial services company.  Stott attended Portland State University and has an honorary doctorate from the university.

Christine Vernier

Vernier is co-founder and COO of Vernier Software & Technology, a company founded in 1981 that produces science educational software and hardware.  Vernier and her husband also are co-founders of the Vernier Charitable Fund at the Oregon Community Foundation and are major donors to numerous education, social service and environmental organizations in Oregon. Vernier currently serves on the Triangle Coalition for STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) Education, a national board advocating for the improvement of STEM education, as well as the board of the Oregon Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. She previously served on the boards of the Oregon Business Education Compact and the Board of Visitors for the College of Science at Oregon State University, among other boards. Vernier has received distinguished service awards from the American Association of Physics, AAPT Ohio section, University of Oregon, and Oregon Science Teachers Association. A social worker and law office manager prior to co-founding Vernier S&T, Vernier received her B.A. in Sociology from Ohio State University.  Vernier and her husband, David, were recipients of the Simon Benson Award for Philanthropy in 2014.

Wim Wiewel (non-voting member)

Wiewel assumed the presidency of Portland State University in August 2008. Prior to coming to PSU, Wiewel was the provost and senior vice president of Academic Affairs at the University of Baltimore. From 1979-2004, Wiewel was with the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), where he most recently served as dean of the College of Business Administration. Wiewel also directed UIC’s Center for Urban Economic Development. He holds degrees in sociology and urban planning from the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, and a Ph.D. in Sociology from Northwestern University. Wiewel has authored or edited nine books and more than 65 articles and chapters that have appeared in publications and journals, including “Economic Development Quarterly,” “Economic Geography” and the “Journal of the American Planning Association.” His most recent books are “Global Universities and Urban Development,” “The University as Urban Developer” and “Suburban Sprawl.”