Neuberger Hall renovation to begin

Portland State University today confirmed that PSU alumnus Fariborz Maseeh, Ph.D., a pioneer in micro-electro- mechanical systems and top university supporter, contributed $5 million through the Massiah Foundation to renovate Neuberger Hall.

Masseh, whose undergraduate training in engineering at PSU helped prepare him for a pioneering career in technology, made the announcement at a retirement celebration for outgoing PSU President Wim Wiewel, saying he intends the contribution to stand not just as an investment in PSU but as a tribute to Wiewel.

“We don’t make gifts; we make philanthropic investments—and PSU under President Wiewel offers as strong an ROI as I have seen,” said Maseeh, “I believe there is no more important institution to educate and inspire the region’s leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs.” 

“The impact of Dr. Maseeh’s generosity at PSU cannot be quantified by dollars, scholarships or square feet,” said Wiewel. “His influence on our students, faculty and campus is immeasurable. He has elevated the reputation and broadened the aspirations of his alma mater in ways that no one could have predicted when he arrived here as a student 40 years ago.”

The gift will allow PSU to re-imagine Neuberger Hall, an aging administrative facility, as a vibrant center serving the needs of modern students, enhancing learning and interdisciplinary connection, and ultimately advancing the success of all 29,000 students at Oregon’s largest and most diverse urban university. 

The renovated facility will house vital student services such as admissions, financial aid, academic advising and career services, as well as classrooms and laboratories supporting programs in the arts and sciences, including design, theater, English, psychology, world languages and gender studies, among others. It will also significantly expand and enhance space for the Fariborz Maseeh Department of Mathematics + Statistics and its computer laboratory.

“Every PSU journey begins on the steps of this building,” said PSU Provost Sona Andrews. “With core administrative services, robust educational offerings, a public art museum and community spaces housed side- by-side, this center will stand at the new heart of our campus and embodiment of our mission.” 

The gift will also help enhance PSU programs in computational science, business analytics and biomedical engineering, programs with strong interdisciplinary connections to the Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science and the Fariborz Maseeh Department of Mathematics + Statistics. 

The Tehran-born Maseeh’s relationship with PSU spans four decades—as a student, alumnus and advocate. He has supported scholarships, fellowships, endowed professorships and other funds and awards at PSU, and made transformational gifts resulting in the creation of the Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science, and the Fariborz Maseeh Department of Mathematics and Statistics. He is a former member of the PSU Board of Trustees and was honored with the Simon Benson Award in 2009.

Announcement of Maseeh’s major contribution follows less than a week after PSU announced a $5 million gift from Jordan Schnitzer (through the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation) to create a vibrant university museum at Neuberger Hall. Together the two investments will augment $60 million in public bonds approved by the Oregon Legislature for the project, which is expected to take two years to complete at a total cost of $70 million.

“We are also proud of the message these two recent gifts send that PSU is a place for transformational philanthropy,” said PSU Foundation President William Boldt. “These are special donors whose legacy at PSU is incomparable.”