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Portland Business Journal: The case for Portland State
Author: Portland Business Journal Staff
Posted: May 10, 2013

Read the original story here in the Portland Business Journal. 

This is not your father’s Portland State University.

Under the direction of President Wim Wiewel, PSU is carving a unique, distinctive path much like the city in which it resides: forward-thinking, quirky and entrepreneurial.

As staff writer Matthew Kish wrote online this week and in today’s print edition, PSU plans to double the physical size of its business school. This seemingly minor announcement has larger implications.

PSU’s tentacles are already deep in Portland’s economy. It has an estimated $1.4 billion annual economic impact. It is a key partner in the Life Sciences Collaborative Building undergoing construction at the South Waterfront. Its Business Accelerator Incubator is home to more than 30 technology companies. It partners with major economic drivers such as Intel Corp.Oregon Health & Science University and PGE.

Yet it doesn’t have the facilities, prestige or money found at the University of Oregon or Oregon State University. So Wiewel is cobbling together a creative, ambitious plan to fundamentally alter the way PSU does business.

Wiewel successfully pushed for an urban renewal area to help fund aggressive expansion plans. He tapped donors to help finance a new, modern arena. His latest move will better coordinate business school offerings and create even more relationships with Portland’s business community.

Though these efforts are in their early stages, PSU is well on its way to reshaping both itself and the southern edge of downtown Portland. The moves reflect Wiewel’s interest in urban economic development and his desire to connect PSU to the city at large.

Portland State certainly has its share of challenges. Money will always be a struggle. Despite its location in Oregon’s largest city, it will never have the branding power of UO or OSU.

Wiewel’s creativity, though, is slowly turning PSU into one of the country’s top public urban universities.