From the President: Spring 2018
Author: President Rahmat Shoureshi
Posted: May 26, 2018

President Rahmat Shoureshi at his inauguration

Celebrating a University of Creators

The honor of my lifetime—leading Portland State University—became official May 4 when I was formally installed as ninth president.

The day began with a procession through the South Park Blocks led by University faculty. It was incredibly meaningful for me and my family. I am the first in my family to attend college, and I could not help but think about all the people who championed me on my journey and shaped my future. The ceremony, held at the new Viking Pavilion in the Peter W. Stott Center, gave me an opportunity to thank the community for its warm welcome and to share the outlines of my vision for Portland State.

The beautiful Viking Pavilion is just one example of how Portland State is continually evolving to meet the needs of both Generation Z students, the digital natives born between 1995 and 2012, and adult learners, students who come to campus with significant life experience. I think of these two groups as creators and re-creators.

If I have learned anything about PSU in the past eight months, it is that this University is full of creators: designers, artists, mathematicians, writers, planners, researchers, scientists, technologists, builders—you name it. It gives us an edge.

PSU launched its signature undergraduate experience two decades ago. University Studies allows students to pick a complex theme, such as sustainability or immigration, and study it from multiple perspectives. This culminates in a project that addresses a practical challenge in our community.

University Studies builds divergent-thinking creators who can step outside their field of interest and practice skills from a mix of disciplines. It is one of the reasons why PSU is among the 10 most innovative universities in the nation. Our alumni demonstrate these same skills as they solve problems and contribute to their communities and our economy.

We also have a program to diversify the ranks of biomedical professionals by providing mentoring and undergraduate research experiences to first-generation college students and students of color.

Overwhelmingly, these kinds of programs help students stay engaged and on track to graduate. They deserve our investment. We can expand cross-disciplinary collaboration that solves real-world problems with research-based ideas. Existing research centers such as Life in Extreme Environments, Improvement of Child and Family Services, and Transportation Research and Education give us a template for discovery and success.

By partnering with business and industry, we can offer students more experiential learning opportunities. We can educate a creative workforce in sync with regional and global needs and provide every learner with relevant credentials for meaningful careers.

Let Knowledge Serve the City.

Rahmat Shoureshi
President, Portland State University