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Giving: Spring 2007
Author: Kathryn Kirkland
Posted: May 24, 2007

Magic Johnson was guest speaker at the Simon Benson Awards Dinner

Magic Johnson scores support for PSU

MARCH 19 WAS an all-star night for Portland State.

Nearly 850 alumni, faculty, students, and friends of the University joined PSU President Dan Bernstine and guest speaker Magic Johnson for the eighth annual Simon Benson Awards Dinner. The event honors outstanding citizens whose generosity and leadership have profoundly affected the lives of Oregonians—often for generations to come. Bern-stine presented the 2007 awards to Jane ’65, MS ’77 and Robert Morrow ’63, and Sharon and Robert Miller.

Jane and Robert Morrow with Magic JohnsonThe Morrows met as University students, and their close engagement with PSU only deepened after graduation. They are legendary on campus as quintessential Viking fans, supporting student athletes in every sport as well as founding the Morrow Academic Center, the Morrow Team Room, and the Jane Morrow Scholarship for women athletes. Their commitment extends far beyond the gym with significant support for the Graduate School of Education, Helen Gordon Child Development Center, and Northwest Center for Engineering, Science and Technology. The Morrows also support the Oregon Humane Society, and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Young Life.

Sharon and Robert MillerAs their three sons testified in the event’s video presentation, the Millers’ successful careers as business and community leaders rest on four deeply rooted values: “work hard, always tell the truth, treat people right, and give back.” The Millers are founding donors and volunteers of the Food Industry Leadership Center in the School of Business Administration. They created the Robert G. Miller Endowed Scholarship for that program in 1998. In addition, they support a host of community organizations, including United Way; Metropolitan Family Services; Self-Enhancement, Inc.; Providence Child Center; and the American Diabetes Association.

Magic Johnson entertained the dinner audience while highlighting how education creates opportunity for urban youth. He concluded with a spontaneous fundraising appeal that inspired additional gifts to Portland State programs.

The evening raised more than $265,000 for the Fund for PSU and for programs and scholarships throughout campus. Lead support for the event was provided by presenting sponsors Wells Fargo, Maybelle Clark Macdonald Fund and Jim Pattison, and associate sponsor Rite-Aid Corporation.

[photos by ©2007 Prints Charming Photography]

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