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September 29, 2008

September 29, 2008


2008 ConvocationLarge crowd turns out for new president at Fall Convocation

President Wim Wiewel said to a standing room only crowd at Fall Convocation Sept. 23 that he could not have wished for a warmer welcome in his first month on the job. With no notes, the new president was convivial and funny as he discussed Portland State's challenges and his five guiding themes.

Wiewel was quick to credit the past two years of academic planning by the campus community as a base for his themes, which symposium participants discussed in group sessions that afternoon. "Today is the beginning of a dialogue," said the president. Read more >

Investment plan forming for $25 million gift

Faculty and staff are invited to contribute ideas and learn about ongoing activities surrounding the investment plan for the new Miller Foundation challenge grant of $25 million at a forum Tuesday, Oct. 7, from 1:30 to 3 p.m. in 327 Smith Union. Forum details will be posted on the PSU Sustainability site.

On Sept. 10, President Wim Wiewel announced the largest gift in the University's history: a $25 million challenge grant from the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation in support of academic activities in sustainability. The 10-year grant requires that the University raise another $25 million in matching funds. Only the matching funds can support endowment and capital projects in sustainability. Read more >

Shattuck Hall renovatedShattuck Hall now a showpiece

The renovation of Shattuck Hall's interior is complete and only a few quaint features of the 1915 elementary school remain. Notably new to the building, home of the Architecture Department, are energy efficient, ceiling mounted, radiant heating and cooling panels. The building also now includes a digital lab, foundry, metal and wood shops, expansive design studios, restored central atrium, and exposed ceilings, walls, and mechanicals for teaching purposes.

Open Enrollment and Benefits Fair in October

Prescription savings, free cancer screenings, increased vision care, and access to more life insurance coverage are just a few of the new 2009 benefits available to faculty and staff during October Open Enrollment. The Public Employees Benefit Board (PEBB) explains all on its online site. In addition, a first-ever PSU Benefits Fair is planned Tuesday, Oct. 21, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in 355 Smith Union.

The Benefit Fair will include representatives from PEBB and all the health, dental, insurance, and investment companies that provide services to staff and faculty. In addition, representatives from Social Security, PSU Human Resources, PSU Safety Committee (ergonomics), PSU Campus Recreation, and PSU Transportation and Parking Services will participate. A raffle with donated prizes is planned.

Introducing PSU EcoWiki

Form connections and be part of the campus sustainability buzz through a new Web site,, started by the PSU Sustainability Office. "This is the place to ask questions, network, brainstorm project ideas and become part of our campus culture shift towards a more sustainable PSU," said Noelle Studer, Sustainability Office coordinator in PSU Facilities and Planning.

EcoWiki content is user-generated by students, faculty and staff. Ideas will be read by many and may be incorporated into the plans for the University. "It's important for the success of this site that diverse opinions are shared," said Studer. "This will allow us to create a constructive and inclusive dialogue about our campus's future."

Accolades earned

U.S.News & World Report listed Portland State seventh in an entirely new category of "up and coming" schools in its "America's Best Colleges 2008" released in August. Based on innovation and improvements, the magazine flagged PSU as a university "everyone should be watching."

For the seventh year in a row, Portland State's community-based learning curriculum was ranked among the top public institutions nationally under the magazine's section "Choosing a School: Programs to Look For" in four categories: first-year experience, internships, senior capstone, learning communities, and service learning.

Federal grant funds unique Russian language program

The University is helping students gain superior proficiency in Russian language through a $1 million grant awarded this fall by the National Security Education Program. The new PSU Russian Language Flagship program-only the second in the nation-allows students to pursue any major with general courses taught in Russian. Read more >

Friend and former faculty pass away

Marjorie Kirrie, emeritus professor of English, died August 16. She was 88. Prof. Kirrie began teaching at Portland Extension Center in 1950 and became a faculty member of Portland State College in 1958. She taught language arts and composition until her retirement in 1985.

Elsie "Rusty" Butler, spouse of emeritus Professor Kenneth Butler, died September 9. The Butlers endowed the Portland State University Library Faculty Service Award, which annually recognizes a nominated Library faculty member's outstanding performance.

Caleb Heppner MPA '02, former director of the Child Welfare Partnership in the School of Social Work, died September 20 after a five-year struggle with cancer. He was 60. Prof. Heppner was a founder of the partnership and served on its board of directors before taking the head post in 1999. He retired in 2003.

Sale at the bookstore

The PSU Bookstore invites faculty and staff to take advantage of its weekly Thrifty Thursdays. The Oct. 2 sale includes 1GB flashdrives for $5 and a new Viking hooded sweatshirt for $29.99. Stock is limited. Visit the bookstore's Web site for each week's Thrifty Thursday special.

For September 2008

Notices | People | Presented | Published/Exhibited | Grants