On May 22nd, 2013, Mark Jackson '95 was honored at the Ninth Annual President's Diversity Awards in the category of "alumnus." This is the first year this category has been added to the awards.
In 2001, Mr. Jackson co-founded REAP, Inc. (Reaching Empowering All People), a nonprofit organization and currently serves as the Vice President/Executive Director. REAP serves as a visionary leader whose aim is to turn problems into solutions in the areas of youth development, public education, family motivation and community building.
Mr. Jackson studied Sociology, Communications, English and Black Studies, and graduated with his Bachelor's Degree from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in 1994. The PSU Alumni Association asked Mr. Jackson a few questions about his time at Portland State.
What made you choose PSU?
Its urban setting and not to mention its international student appeal. Experiencing the diversity of nationalities in the early 90's was a glimpse of the values that PSU brought to our city before diversity was seen as an asset.
Did you receive a scholarship while you were here?
Yes. Under-representative Minority Tuition Award (UNMAS). I believe it’s called Diversity Scholarship.
What is your favorite memory of PSU?
Well, this is a hard question. I'll never forget being exposed to the lectures of Dr. Darrell Millner on the black experience in history. As a high school student in Portland, Oregon I never was really exposed to black studies beyond the scars of slavery. Black Studies at PSU opened my eyes to my complete value in shaping US History and abroad. Beyond this, returning my used textbooks to the bookstore to try and get some quick cash at the end of each term. Given my small budget, I would always look forward to treating myself to a nice meal after a long and rigorous term of study. Yahoo!!!
Do you have advice for current students wanting to follow a similar path?
Passion must be the fuel that carries you to your educational & career aspirations. When barriers and distractions comes to impede our progress what keeps us moving forward is our personal passion.
What does winning this award mean to you?
As the first alumni to receive the President’s Diversity Award, I am honored to be a part of history. This award is a tribute to the vision of the REAP organization that has given me the platform to serve our diverse community every day.
Mark Jackson '95 with PSU Alumni Association Director Tom Bull.