From the President: Spring 2019
Author: various
Posted: June 4, 2019

President Rahmat Shoureshi resigns

On May 10, Rahmat Shoureshi announced his resignation as president of Portland State University. He is on paid administrative leave until his resignation becomes effective December 14. The Board of Trustees named PSU’s College of Urban and Public Affairs Dean Stephen Percy as acting president until an interim is appointed. Faculty and the campus community will provide input on that appointment. “We understand that a leadership change of this magnitude is deeply felt across our campus,” wrote the Board in a message to students, faculty and staff. “We remain committed to the success of our students, to the research and scholarship of our faculty and to the urban mission of Portland State.” 

Celebrating PSU’s research mission

Mark McLellanTHIS SPRING, Portland State held a week-long series of events to honor and call attention to the exceptional research of our faculty and students. Through symposiums, demonstrations and lectures, the community got a first-hand look at the work performed in our labs and throughout the Portland region. From testing the air quality in an urban middle school to finding ways to make the Portland Bureau of Fire and Rescue more efficient, PSU researchers are truly fulfilling PSU’s mission to Let Knowledge Serve the City.

Research plays an absolutely essential role in making PSU a quality institution. As researchers, we are explorers, problem solvers and changemakers. PSU research brings new discoveries and possibilities into focus, and addresses critical challenges facing Portland and global communities.

People are surprised when I tell them that over the past fiscal year PSU researchers pulled in more than $60 million in externally-funded grants. More than half of that money paid for faculty, staff, graduate assistant and student wages. Every dollar PSU receives in the form of research grants is a dollar that doesn’t need to come from student tuition.
While surprising to some, that $60 million figure is typical for PSU. But we can do more. In fact, we’ve made great strides over the past year to elevate PSU’s research profile. 

PSU launched two new centers of excellence in the fall, focusing research on solving homelessness and creating technological advances for urban living. And in March, PSU was accepted to be part a consortium of more than 100 top research institutions associated with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the U.S. Department of Energy’s largest science and energy lab. Joining this elite group will give PSU access to numerous programs that offer grants, knowledge-strengthening competitions, and interactions with scientific leaders—all of which will enhance the professional growth and development of PSU’s faculty and students.

Also in the past year, innovations developed by PSU faculty members led to the creation of three start-up companies: Titania Purification, which uses nanotechnologies in water purification systems; Stark Street Materials, which develops durable, lightweight radiation-shielding materials; and StoneStable, which harnesses the protective power of silica to preserve vaccines. Another PSU spin-off company, DesignMedix, entered FDA phase-one human trials for an antimalarial drug that has the potential to save countless lives.

The research we do with our partners in the community drives changes that improve quality of life. We’re looking forward to growing that momentum in the coming year and beyond. 

Mark McLellan
Vice President for Research, 
Portland State University