A PSU history lesson
The paragraph about Stanley Johnson in the “In Memoriam” section of Portland State Magazine, Winter 2012, notes that he started teaching at Portland State in 1955. I believe he started in the 1950-51 academic year. The error is a common one.
Portland State, which Steve Epler started at Vanport in the summer of 1946, gained four-year collegiate status in 1955. Before that time, the State Board of Higher Education and many influential leaders were inclined to consider Vanport temporary. It wasn’t, of course, but when a college seal was developed, 1955 was listed as the school’s beginning year instead of 1946.
All of the professors who were teaching at Portland State at the time were listed in the college catalogs as beginning in 1955! That changed under the leadership of President Judith Ramaley (1990-1997) and
Alumni Association Director Pat Squire (1989-2011), and the University’s seal was modified in 1991 to show 1946 as Portland State’s founding year. Epler was brought back to the campus, feted, and given emeritus status.
Those of us who were on the staff in the years before 1955 fondly remember the dynamism and excitement of PSU’s pre-collegiate period.
Charlie White, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History (taught from 1952 to 2009)
Watch out for crocs
What psycho let Sarah Wimmer get close up and personal with a really big crocodile? (“Postcards from the World,” Portland State Magazine, Winter 2012) She’s squatting next to the croc with her hand on it and looking at the camera. Wow! That croc could grab her in a flash, have her in the water, and be gone. Someone needs reprimanding, starting with the Portland State Magazine staff.
Jack Sterett ’73
Giving her own high marks
I am responding to President Wim Wiewel’s article, “Portlanders give high marks to PSU,” in Portland State Magazine, Winter 2012.
As a native of Portland and a graduate of PSU, I agree that PSU plays an important academic role in the Portland metropolitan area and contributes to the overall quality of education for the entire state. But PSU has never been an “ivory tower” institution; rather, it is accessible and welcoming to the people who surround it—whether alums, business people, high school students or others.
As a social services manager in Portland, I frequently benefited from the knowledge and skills of PSU staff and students, including through the Capstone projects. As an alumna, I frequently attend PSU Weekend to continue my education and explore the campus. As a Portland resident, I often enjoyed the galleries, dances and other cultural activities offered on campus.
My husband and I moved to rural Cottage Grove a few years ago, a location we chose partly due to its proximity to the University of Oregon. We anticipated a continuation of strong university-community bonds and many enjoyable activities. What we have in fact discovered is a sports-based relationship between the university and the community, primarily focused on football and track. Other public activities do take place on campus; however, those we have found are mostly events hosted by organizations simply using the U of O space. The Eugene Public Library plays host to many of the activities that would often occur on the PSU campus and does a “bang-up” job of community outreach.
I remain proud of my connection with PSU and regularly remind locals here in the Southern Willamette Valley that there are more than two quality universities in this state. Keep up the good work, PSU!
Barbara Butzer ’81
John Avery ’76
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