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Alumni Association News
Author: Kathryn Kirkland
Posted: January 29, 2006

Portland State celebrates 60 years

The University will celebrate its 60th anniversary during 2006, with festivities peaking around the June 17 commencement.

Portland State was founded in 1946 as an extension center for returning World War II veterans who attended college on the GI Bill. With other universities unable to accommodate the sudden influx of returning veterans, the Vanport Extension Center, located at a former housing complex for Kaiser shipyard workers, opened its doors to GIs on June 18, 1946. The fledgling school survived a flood, several moves, and downstate opposition to become a college, then a university, and now Oregon’s largest university.

The campus now has more than 25,000 students, occupies more than 49 city blocks, includes seven colleges and schools and numerous other academic and life-long learning offerings, and has over 105,000 alumni.

The 60th Anniversary Planning Committee is preparing some new activities and is also designing elements to be included in existing PSU events, with the intention of honoring the past while highlighting the present and future.

“This is a significant milestone for Portland State,” says Pat Squire, chair of the planning committee. “When you think of what we’ve been through, even in recent years, it’s important to realize, as our founder Stephen Epler said, ‘It’s the students who built Portland State.’ We want to showcase that spirit and highlight our achievements to the campus and the community.”

Special features planned include:

  • Lecture series on the history of Vanport, Portland State College, and PSU, which will include discussion of PSU today and into the future
  • “PSU’s Pride,” profiles of PSU students and graduates on the PSU Web site home page and the Alumni Association Web site
  • A special PSU walking map highlighting places of interest on campus
  • Reunions for Vanport and class of ’56 alumni and other groups
  • Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Graduate School of Education on April 19
  • A founder’s commemorative plaque
  • Recognition during other events, such as Night of Wine & Roses (February 25), Simon Benson Awards Dinner (March 1), dedication of the new NW Center for Engineering, Science and Technology (spring), the Urban Pioneer Dinner (May 2), PSU Salutes (May 11), and Commencement (June 17).

Watch for events and dates at or call 503-725-4948 for more information. Join in events at PSU as we celebrate the big 6-0!

Alumni travelers visit the Mayan Peninsula

Twelve intrepid alumni travelers saw the Mayan ruins in early November, not too long after Hurricane Wilma swept through. According to Shirley Griffith ’67, “this particular trip was one of the most fun PSU trips that I have ever taken.”

The Mayan Splendors trip to the Yucatan Peninsula included educational presentations on the golden age of Mayan civilization, colonial Mexico, and Mexico today, and tours focused on Merida, Uxmal, Santiago Park, Izamal, St. Lucia Park, and the Celestun Estuary, among many other sights.

For information about 2006 educational tours, visit or call the Alumni Office at 503-725-4948.

Get together in Bangkok, Seoul, Tokyo, or Kuwait

Alumni in Asia and the Middle East are getting together this winter at receptions hosted by the University and the PSU Alumni Association. Not only can alumni visit with one another, they can talk with PSU President Dan Bernstine and other PSU administrators and faculty.

In Asia, the University will hold alumni events in Bangkok, Seoul, and Tokyo. All alumni and friends of Portland State are invited to attend.

  • Bangkok: February 11, 6 to 9 p.m., Oakwood City Residence, 291 Narathiwas Rajanagarindra 24
  • Seoul: February 15, 4 to 5 p.m., Sangmyung University
  • Tokyo: February 18, noon, Oregon Bar and Grill, Shinbashi
  • Kuwait: Gulf State reunion, March 16, 7 to 11 p.m., Hilton Kuwait Resort.

For details about these events, contact Yoko Sakurauchi in the Office of Alumni Relations at or by phone at 503-725-8942. Invitations will be posted on the PSU Alumni Association Web site and will be emailed to graduates and friends who are known to us.

We encourage all international graduates to email us with their contact information, and/or to complete the alumni update form on the alumni Web site under “change your address.”

Board explores membership program

Portland State graduates automatically become members of the PSU Alumni Association, now more than 105,000 strong. While some alumni take advantage of the benefits of the association and its connection to the University, most go about their lives with perhaps fond memories of their days at PSU, but little awareness of the campus today.

In an effort to bring alumni closer to the University, the PSU Alumni Board is exploring a membership program for the association.

“A dues membership program would allow us to identify those alumni who are interested in being active with Portland State on a more regular basis,” says Pat Squire, assistant vice president for alumni and constituent relations.

“While we want to include all alumni in the association, a membership program would bring dues-payers closer to us. These grads would have an opportunity to enjoy more regular communications and inside knowledge about what is happening at their university.”

The board sees the program as mutually beneficial to alumni and the association.

“Those who are interested would have better access to services, activities and events on campus,” says Roberta McEniry ’76, board president, “and the Alumni Association would have the resources that would allow us to enhance communications and programs for alums.”

McEniry says the board is surveying alumni to discover needs and wishes for alumni programming.

The Alumni Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, governed by a volunteer board of directors. All alumni programs are sponsored and paid for by the association, which receives revenues from affinity programs.

Salutes set for May 11

Please join us for PSU Salutes, the University’s annual recognition event celebrating the outstanding achievements of alumni, faculty, and friends, May 11 in Smith Memorial Student Union Ballroom. Cost is $25. For more information, call 503-725-4949 or visit

The 2005-2006 Alumni Association Board (left to right), front row: Marshal Jevning ’96, Kori Allen ’84, Roberta McEniry (president) ’76, Trish Trout MA ’88, Gary Purpura ’71; second row: Behzad Hosseini ’96, MBA ’97, Charisse Tooze ’94, Jeff Austin ’77, Linda Hamilton ’90; third row: Rob Edmiston ’84, Gerry Scovil ’65, MS ’68, Dave Friesen ’03, Komi Kalevor ’88, Jackie Bell ’71, Pat Squire MPA ’95; not pictured: Roger Capps ’60, Trish Ciliberti MSW ’90, PhD ’97, Donna Derington ’79, Bill Lemman, Vanport and honorary ’04, Terry Pinnell ’01, Ann Takamura MPA ’97, Cathy Williams ’56, Angela Wykoff ’72, MS ’75, ’80.