Board of Trustees

May 27, 2020 

Dear Campus Community,

We are pleased to announce that the Portland State University Board of Trustees has unanimously voted to appoint Stephen Percy as the 10th president of PSU, with Dr. Percy’s appointment taking effect upon the successful execution of an employment agreement.

Dr. Percy garnered enthusiastic support from the campus community in an online survey conducted by the Board in May. About 90 percent of the 400 respondents to the survey supported Dr. Percy’s appointment, praising his integrity and his calm, inclusive and transparent leadership style. In conducting our outreach, the Board also found support for Dr. Percy from the faculty senate, Associated Students of PSU, the Portland State Foundation, and the four unions representing employee groups at the university.

Board leadership will now turn to negotiating with Dr. Percy a contract that will meet the following additional guidelines:

  • Dr. Percy’s compensation will not exceed the median of comparator institutions selected by Human Resources and will not include allowances for expenses such as housing or transportation.
  • Dr. Percy and members of the board will establish by Fall 2020 presidential goals as well as metrics to indicate progress toward those goals. 

The Board acknowledges that it is unusual for a university to appoint a president without conducting a national search and considering external candidates. Dr. Percy was named interim president by the Board last spring during a period of uncertainty and transition for the university, and the Board expected to launch a national search at a later date. However, the unprecedented circumstances of the last year — including declining enrollment, the COVID-19 pandemic, PSU’s temporary transition to a virtual campus, and anticipated deep cuts to state funding for higher education — have caused us to reconsider that approach.

A leader and educator with a career spanning four decades and three institutions, Dr. Percy stepped into the role of interim president grounded in the people and issues that are critically important to Portland State. Arriving at PSU in 2014 to lead the College of Urban & Public Affairs as its dean, Dr. Percy immediately became a vital contributor to the campus discourse and led a number of community and campus initiatives. 

He chaired the Strategic Planning Development Team that charted the university’s priorities from 2016 through 2020, co-chaired the Implementation Advisory Committee for Campus Public Safety, vice-chaired the search advisory committee for the university president and served as a member of the Diversity Action Council Steering Committee.

In the last year, Dr. Percy has shown strong leadership. His work guiding PSU's transition to a virtual campus in such a short time period is the latest example of his effectiveness and dedication leading this campus. Dr. Percy has done an admirable job in leading the university during a difficult time in its history, and he has demonstrated he has a keen understanding of our students and community. We are grateful to him for his steadfast leadership, and we look forward to working with him on behalf of PSU in the years to come.


Greg Hinckley

Margaret Kirkpatrick
Vice Chair 

Portland State University Board of Trustees





The Portland State University Board of Trustees is a 15-member volunteer board appointed by the Governor of Oregon. The Board is responsible for the governance of the University as provided in state laws that establish the University. The Board meets at least four times a year. Most of the work of the Board is done through the Board’s committees, which meet regularly throughout the year. The members of the Board elect their Chair and Vice Chair, are responsible for the employment and evaluation of the University President, establish the mission and strategic plan of the University, establish tuition and fee rates, approve the University budget and the incursion of debt, and perform other tasks as necessary. All actions of the Board are for the benefit of the University, its current and future students, faculty and staff, the Portland metropolitan area, and the State of Oregon.


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