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Capps family gives back by supporting aspiring educators
Capps family gives back by supporting aspiring educators

Roger and Jan Capps are devoted to Portland State. Roger has been an active member of the Alumni Advocates Group, and has made many trips to Salem and Washington, D.C., advocating for PSU. He also served on the Alumni Board for six years. He and Jan still voice their passion for the Vikings at sporting events. And, over time, they increased their giving to PSU.

“If it wasn’t for Portland State, I probably wouldn’t have gone to college,” says Roger. He and his brothers lived at home and worked their way through—becoming the first in their family to graduate. “By having a part-time job, we could pay for college. It’s not like that now.”

Roger graduated from Portland State in 1960 with a degree in elementary education and taught at several inner-city Portland schools before becoming a principal in the North Clackamas School District. Jan also attended Portland State, then completed her nursing credentials at Portland Community College and served as a maternity nurse at Good Samaritan. Together, they raised two children and now are proud grandparents of five.

The couple’s commitment to family and education runs deep. They travel to Guatemala annually to paint schools, build bookcases and set up libraries. They have given annually to a Graduate School of Education scholarship they established, the Capps Family Scholarship, and created a charitable remainder trust to partially benefit this scholarship. These gifts make financial and emotional sense for the Capps. The trust, for example, provides them with income while supporting causes they care about.

“We’ve been in touch with Portland State all these years,” says Roger. “This is my pay back for being allowed to go here. PSU is a place people know they can go and they can make it.”

Recently, they made a planned gift to endow the Capps Family Scholarship for students who are preparing for a career in elementary education. “I admire these students going into education,” says Jan. “We need a lot of good teachers. We want to give them any little help we can give them.”

The Capps have delighted in meeting their scholarship recipients. “It is inspiring to meet these students. Each one of them tells us how important this scholarship is in helping them pay for their college expenses,” says Roger.

Like the Capps, you too can make a huge difference in the lives of students aspiring to become educators. To give to scholarships in the Graduate School of Education, please contact Jaymee Jacoby at (503) 725-4789 or