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Portland State Announces Honorary Degree Recipients
Author: Erin Malecha Arias (503-725-8794) Office of Marketing and Communications
Posted: March 20, 2006

The State Board of Higher Education recently approved Portland State University’s request to present honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees to three outstanding Oregonians, Congressman Peter DeFazio, Norman Leyden and Fred Rosenbaum at the University’s June 17 commencement ceremony.

“Each of these distinguished individuals have long and exemplary records of personal and public achievements,” said Daniel O. Bernstine, Portland State University president. “They are real examples of PSU’s commitment to civic engagement and excellence. From public office, industry, public service and the arts all have provided selfless assistance to their communities. Their leadership and service has made Oregon a better place.”

Congressman DeFazio, also selected to be Portland State’s spring 2006 commencement speaker, was first elected to the U.S. Congress in 1986 where he represents the people of Oregon’s Fourth Congressional District and is the dean of the Oregon House delegation. Rep. DeFazio serves on the House Resources Committee; the Select Committee on Homeland Security and two of its subcommittees, Infrastructure and Border Security, and Emergency Preparedness and Response; the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee; the Railroads Subcommittee; the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee; and the Aviation Subcommittee. Congressman DeFazio has always made access to higher education a priority and has been outspoken in his commitment to expanding economic, social and educational opportunities.

This past August, Congressman DeFazio was instrumental in passage of the SAFETEA-LU bill, reauthorizing the nation’s investment in transportation systems. The SAFETEA-LU bill provides substantial support for key Oregon projects and is vital to Oregon’s economic future. This legislation includes $160 million for reconstruction of bridges on I-5 and $40 million for reconstruction of bridges throughout Oregon. The bill also includes funding for the expansion of light rail and the Portland Sreetcar, in addition to many street and road projects and a major research center in Oregon. These projects lead to economic development for Oregon’s communities and create jobs for a highly diverse workforce.

Norman Leyden is an outstanding member of the local, national and international music communities. His long and illustrious career includes work with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, Tony Bennett, Rosemary Clooney, Frank Sinatra and Sarah Vaughn. Leyden has conducted more than 40 leading American symphonies, including the Boston Pops, Minnesota Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Saint Louis Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, and the National Symphony. A graduate of Yale University in 1938, Leyden later earned master’s and doctoral degrees from Columbia University where he also taught for several years.

In 1970, Norman Leyden joined the Oregon Symphony as associate conductor and has continued to work with the orchestra since his retirement two years ago. Regarded today as one of the foremost authorities on Big Band music of the Swing Era, Leyden frequently presents authentically styled programs and advises orchestras here and abroad on the Big Band sound. In 1993, he received the Governor’s Arts Award, which recognizes leadership and excellence in the arts. The 2005–2006 season marks Norman Leyden’s second as the Oregon Symphony’s Laureate Associate Conductor.

Fred Rosenbaum has a distinguished career of service to the local community and the broader state. His community leadership with over 30 affiliations, including the chairing of the Human Relations Commission, serving as Oregon Museum of Science and Industry president, and chairing the Housing Authority of Portland is remarkable in itself. Rosenbaum is presently vice president of the American Jewish Committee. Among other distinguished affiliations, he was a member of the Air National Guard and has served as Brigadier General and Assistant Adjutant General of the state of Oregon. Rosenbaum chaired the Housing Authority of Portland for 15 years, working on behalf of low-income families and disabled elderly. Rosenbaum currently serves on the board of directors for the Institute of Metropolitan Studies at Portland State.

Fred Rosenbaum has been honored by the city of Portland and state of Oregon in numerous ways. In 1976, Portland named its new housing facility for low-income elderly residents Rosenbaum Plaza, in his honor. Also, Camp Rosenbaum, a camp for under-privileged urban children, was dedicated by Governor Vic Atiyeh in 1985 and continues to serve urban youth today. His professional recognitions include lifetime membership in the Million Dollar Round Table, Oregon Life Underwriter of the Year, and the Standard Insurance Hall of Fame. He has been recognized with the State of Oregon Governor’s Award for work accomplished in the field of race relations. Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen awarded him the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service in 1998.

Spring 2006 commencement will take place Saturday, June 17 at 10 a.m. in the Rose Garden Arena (Portland, Ore.). For additional information about commencement, please contact Erin Malecha Arias in the Office of Marketing and Communications at 503-725-8794. Students and families needing additional information should visit

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Amy Ross (503-725-4959)
PSU Office of the President

For Immediate Release (#06-046)