(Portland, OR) – An estimated 20,000 people took seats in the Rose Garden Arena to watch the largest class ever graduate from Portland State University at the spring commencement ceremony on Sunday.
"You are as young as 19 and as young as 79" said Wim Wiewel, president of PSU. "Your bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees reflect the breadth and depth of the more than 200 degree programs at Portland State."
PSU awarded approximately 5,920 degrees, including 3,825 bachelor’s degrees, 1,735 master’s degrees and 60 doctoral degrees. The undergraduate graduating class has more than doubled since 1993-94, when 1,750 bachelor’s degrees were awarded.
Scott Davis, chairman and chief executive officer of UPS, one of the world’s largest publicly-traded logistics companies, told graduates in his commencement address that although they were graduating, class was just beginning.
"You will be tested many, many times," said Davis. "Can you get up when you're knocked down? Can you open your mind? Can you expand your horizons? The decisions you make and the actions you take will determine whether you pass or fail."
A native of Oregon, Davis is a PSU alum who earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1974. He had four lessons to impart on the graduates.
"Develop a Beginners Mind. Embrace mistakes. Trust your gut. Broaden your horizons. And above all else, don't listen to the naysayers in life. They are like a wet blanket smothering your dreams."
Other interesting estimates about the Class of 2011: Graduates come from 51 different countries (Saudia Arabia and India are at the top) and 49 different U.S. states (Washington and California lead the pack) plus the District of Columbia. The top undergraduate majors are social science, psychology, liberal studies. The youngest graduate is 19 years old; the oldest is 79. Women make up 56 percent of bachelor’s graduates, 60 percent of master’s graduates and 50 percent of PhD graduates.
About Portland State University (PSU)
Located in Portland, Oregon, PSU has about 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students. PSU’s motto is "Let Knowledge Serve the City," and we provide every student with opportunities to work with businesses, schools and organizations on real-world projects. Our downtown campus exhibits PSU’s commitment to sustainability with green buildings, while sustainability is incorporated into much of the curriculum.