News

Looking Back: Fall 2017
Author: Kathryn Kirkland
Posted: September 15, 2017

In the midst of change

PORTLAND State College was physically transforming in the 1967-68 academic year. Since 1962, six buildings had either been built or expanded and urban renewal had cleared space for another nine. For students like Mike Smith, pictured here from that year’s yearbook, it was a difficult transition. The culture he’d known had been bulldozed. No more Cable Alley or The Village on upper Hall Street. Smith wrote about it for the Vanguard, and his piece was reprinted in the yearbook.

Smith, a smart English and psychology major, helped lead PSC’s College Bowl team to victory on national television in 1965. The win was credited with influencing the Oregon Legislature to support the college and fund graduate programs. Smith suffered from cystic fibrosis and was frequently hospitalized while a student. He died in October 1968, and Smith Memorial Student Union was named after him the following year—the same year PSC was made a university. 

The Viking yearbooks are available online at bit.ly/viking_yearbook.