At a public announcement ceremony in spring 2004, PSU President Daniel O. Bernstine and Dr. Fariborz Maseeh, founder and president of The Massiah Foundation, announced the largest gift in Portland State University's history — $8 million from the Foundation to the College of Engineering and Computer Science. With this gift, the College has become the Fariborz Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science.
Maseeh, a first-generation immigrant born in Iran, received both his B.S. in Structural Engineering and M.S. in Mathematics from PSU before earning a doctorate of science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1990. Maseeh is an internationally known expert in the field of micro-technology (also known as MEMS) and is the founder and former president and chief executive officer of IntelliSense Corporation, based in Wilmington, Mass. In 2000, IntelliSense was acquired by Corning, Inc., after which Maseeh founded an investment management firm located in Southern California.
"On behalf of The Massiah Foundation, we are proud to make this investment in PSU and hope it will help propel the Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science to new heights," said Maseeh. "We are committed to PSU and will contribute in any way we can to achieve its goal of becoming one of the top academic institutions in the nation. Our work has just begun."
The $8 million gift was designated for the construction of the Northwest Center for Engineering, Science and Technology at Portland State, as well as to establish two professorships, five student fellowships, and an endowment for the dean of the Maseeh College. In addition to the naming of the Maseeh College, the auditorium in Northwest Center will be named the Maseeh Auditorium.
"This significant investment in engineering and computer science at Portland State will help us to continue to meet the needs of the region through critical research, knowledge creation and workforce development," said President Bernstine. "We are all truly grateful to The Massiah Foundation and to Dr. Maseeh for their generosity."
The $8 million included funding for the following:
- $6 million to support the construction of a new 130,000 square-foot tower and the continued refurbishment of the Fourth Avenue Building (1900 SW Fourth) that together will be known as the Northwest Center for Engineering, Science and Technology;
- $1 million to establish two professorships: the Maseeh Professor of Emerging Technologies; and the Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering;
- $500,000, along with matching funding from Portland State, to establish five student fellowships; and
- $500,000 to endow a fund for the dean of the Maseeh College. The endowment of the deanship will be known as the H. Chik M. Erzurumlu Dean of the Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science. Erzurumlu is the founding dean of the College, established in 1982 at Portland State as the School of Engineering and Applied Science.
"In our quest for excellence, this significant gift will help the College to advance its initiative of being regionally relevant and nationally prominent in a select core of disciplines that are most important to the current and future needs of the region," said Dean Robert D. Dryden.
The Massiah Foundation was established and funded by Fariborz Maseeh as a platform for charitable contributions. The Foundation's mission is to make significant improvements in education, health, arts, literature and science.
IntelliSense was founded by Maseeh in 1991 with the vision of reducing the time and expense of creating next-generation micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) devices. Under his leadership, IntelliSense successfully began the first custom design, development and manufacturing MEMS operation and became the world's fastest-growing MEMS corporation, twice named to both The New England Technology Fast 50 and The Forbes Fast 50.
Maseeh has published numerous scientific articles on topics such as business strategy, fabrication technologies and design and software for MEMS, in addition to securing a number of patents and trademarks. He currently serves on the boards of several technology firms, engineering schools -including the University of California at Irvine and the University of Southern California; and non-profit organizations such as the Boys & Girls Club of Boston and the Children's Hospital of Orange County Foundation for Children.