CNN news anchor Anderson Cooper will be the distinguished guest speaker at Portland State University’s 14th annual Simon Benson Awards Dinner on October 22. More than 1,700 people are expected to attend the gala honoring alumni and philanthropists.
Cooper anchors the CNN news show, Anderson Cooper 360°, and reports for CBS’s 60 Minutes. He has covered major events around the world—from the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, to political uprisings in the Middle East to the aftermaths of earthquakes in Haiti and Japan. Before joining CNN, Cooper was an ABC News correspondent, anchoring ABC’s World News Now, reporting for World News Tonight and 20/20 and hosting the network’s reality program The Mole.
Tom Brokaw of NBC News originally was scheduled to speak at the dinner but had to cancel due to a serious back injury.
“I've developed a painful, complicated back condition,” Brokaw said in a prepared statement. “Unfortunately, for the short term, my travel is restricted by order of the doctors. I wish the event great success and hope to return to Portland in the future.”
Cooper is expected to provide a fascinating perspective on national and international events and will add an intriguing new element to the evening—moderated questions and answers.
“We were sorry to hear about Mr. Brokaw's injury, but we're all very excited to have Anderson Cooper coming to our university," said Wim Wiewel, president of PSU. "Here is a guy that has been around the world, lived through some of the most significant events of our time, and is still doing it. It's a fantastic opportunity for our community.”
PSU created its Simon Benson Award in 1999. This year, successful entrepreneur Bill Stoller MBA ’79 will receive the Simon Benson Award for Alumni Achievement. Stoller co-founded Express Employment Professionals, which has grown into an international staffing company with more than 600 franchises, and transformed his family’s Dundee Hills turkey farm into the award-winning Stoller Family Estate winery.
PSU alumnus Rick Miller MBA ’91 and his wife, Erika Miller, will receive the Simon Benson Award for Philanthropy. Rick Miller is the founder and chairman of Avamere Group. He is also co-founder of Rogue Venture Partners, a private equity firm investing in Oregon-based entrepreneurs and small businesses. Erika Miller led a successful career in business banking. Together, the couple gives generously of their time, energy and financial resources to a wide variety of organizations in Portland and beyond.
Bank of America is the presenting sponsor for this year’s event. Avamere is the VIP reception sponsor. Fairbridge Foundation, Fred Meyer, Jack and Lynn Loacker, Rogue Venture Partners, Ralph & Bunny Schlesinger Foundation, Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation, Peter W. Stott Foundation and Howard S. Wright are principal sponsors.
For tickets, contact Danielle Cox, 503-725-2652, firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the event, visit http://www.pdx.edu/giving/simon-benson-awards-dinner.
About Portland State University (PSU)
Located in Portland, Oregon, PSU has about 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students. PSU’s motto is “Let Knowledge Serve the City,” and we provide every student with opportunities to work with businesses, schools and organizations on real-world projects. Our downtown campus exhibits PSU’s commitment to sustainability with green buildings, while sustainability is incorporated into much of the curriculum.