Remembering the Toulans

The Nohad and Dirce Toulan Memorial Event held on the PSU Campus, November 19, 2013.


Remembering the Toulans

Nohad and Dirce, who passed away in a car accident in 2013, will forever be the first couple of the College of Urban and Public Affairs. But just as they worked together to build our College and Portland State University, they also worked tirelessly to make the Portland Metropolitan region the wonderful place that it is. Their commitment and contribution to service, to community, and to higher education leaves us all in their debt. But most importantly, at the core of who they were and how they lived was a deep sense of integrity, compassion, and social justice that is a lasting lesson for all of us.

The impact of the Toulans' work can be seen worldwide and without Nohad and Dirce, Portland State University would not be the nationally recognized higher education institute it is today.

If you would like to make a gift in their memory to the Nohad and Dirce Toulan Endowed Scholarship, please visit the PSU Foundation website.

Nohad and Dirce Toulan

Dr. Toulan was a Distinguished Professor and Dean Emeritus of the College of Urban and Public Affairs at Portland State University.  He was an internationally recognized urban planner who contributed extensively to the development of major urban and regional plans in the U.S., the Middle East, North and West Africa. Dr. Toulan has been an adviser to the United Nations Development Program and to local and foreign governments on development issues. He was a member of the Columbia Region Association of Governments committee that drafted the Portland Urban Growth Boundary and has served and chaired numerous task forces for the City of Portland.

A native of Egypt, he grew up in Cairo and Alexandria. He received a degree in Architecture from the University of Cairo, a Masters Degree in City Planning from Berkeley, and a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. In 1965 he became the first Planning Director of the Greater Cairo Region and he is the author of many of the concepts that continue to shape policy in that growing region. In 1966 he guided the development of new urban policies for the Cairo Metropolitan area, under UN auspices. In 1984/85, while on a 20-month leave of absence from PSU, he directed the preparation of a very comprehensive regional plan for the Holy City of Mecca which presented extraordinary challenges. He has received numerous awards in Oregon and nationally for his leadership and vision as a professional planner. His research and publications cover such areas as city and regional planning, housing, and urban design.

Dr. Toulan came to PSU from Columbia University in 1972 as the Director of the Urban Studies Program and led the expansion of disciplines that created the College of Urban and Public Affairs. He served as the College’s first Dean from 1976 until his retirement in 2004. He continued to be engaged in the work of the College and in the planning profession.

Dirce Toulan was an architect planner and a former Fulbright Scholar. Her commitment was vital to the growth and development of the College and she led the effort to support the College's library, now named the Dirce Moroni Toulan Library, which was listed as one of the seven wonders of Portland State.

They are survived by their children Mariam and Omar.