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Professor Marek Elżanowski
Professor Marek Elżanowski

In late 2007, Dr. Fariborz Maseeh met with PSU Professor Marek Elżanowski to discuss a “big idea” for the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. At the time, Professor Elżanowski was chairman of the department and had worked closely with Dr. Maseeh on the creation of two successful lecture series.

Through Professor Elżanowski’s leadership, Dr. Maseeh’s “big idea” was realized and he agreed to fund faculty positions, a prestigious fellowship and the lecture series.

For his work with Dr. Maseeh and other donors and for his many years of leadership, Professor Elżanowski has been named recipient of the 2015 PSU Foundation Philanthropic Leadership Award.

“I witnessed first-hand, as a member of the mathematics department, how Marek created a culture of excitement around Dr. Maseeh’s gift,” said Karen Marrongelle, dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.

“It is not easy work to get a department of 25-plus faculty with varying interests to coalesce behind a donor’s vision. But Marek was able to skillfully accomplish this.”

Professor Elżanowski arrived at Portland State in 1988 as an assistant professor of mathematical sciences. In 2003, he took on the role of chairman of the department and began to develop his relationship with Dr. Maseeh, a generous PSU graduate who has provided exceptional support for the College of Engineering and Computer Science, which now bears his name.

At first, they collaborated on the creation of the Mathematics and Statistics Colloquium and the Maseeh Lecture series. The success of those series deepened their relationship and led to discussions about PSU’s vision for the department and how Dr. Maseeh’s philanthropic investment could make it a reality.

Together, they created the framework for Dr. Maseeh’s investment to fund three new faculty positions in Computational Mathematics and Statistics, five years of support for five Ph.D. students through the Enneking Fellowship and the continued funding of the Lecture and Colloquium series.

Professor Elżanowski’s colleagues credit his leadership for the growth and development of the department, which is now the Fariborz Maseeh Department of Mathematics & Statistics. Faculty research projects stretch from Portland to Vietnam and PSU attracts graduate students from around the world, some of whom have gone on to study and teach at Harvard, MIT and Virginia Tech.