Portland State University mourns the loss of the founding dean of what is now the Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science and an advocate for “big picture” engineering education, Chik Erzurumlu.
Erzurumlu first joined Portland State College in 1962 as a faculty member in civil engineering. In 1980, he was leading the Division of Engineering and Applied Science. By 1982, he became the founding Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science.
Erzurumlu oversaw years of innovation and new initiatives as he worked to build a solid foundation for the new school, now known as the Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science.
“To say that Chik Erzurumlu was an important figure in the history of the Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science at Portland State University would be a woeful understatement,” says Maseeh College Dean Richard Corsi. “He was a giant figure whose efforts transformed lives for the better and put Portland State University on the map as an important player in the technology landscape of Oregon. I feel so very fortunate to hold a dean position named in honor of Chik.”
He also developed a pilot program with Portland Public Schools to expand educational opportunities for women and students of color. Oregon MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement) was founded in 1985 and modeled after a similar program in California — long before initiatives designed to serve underrepresented communities in science and math were more commonplace.
Erzurumlu was known for his excellence as an educator and dedication to innovation, as well as his involvement in the local community including volunteer positions at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, the City Club of Portland and the Portland Advisory Committee for Engineering Education.