Giving: Spring 2008
Author: Kathryn Kirkland
Posted: May 19, 2008

John GlennASTRONAUT AND STATESMAN John Glenn was the keynote speaker at the ninth annual Simon Benson Awards Dinner April 1. The Portland State event honors outstanding citizens whose generosity and leadership affect the lives of generations of Oregonians. Michael Reardon, interim PSU president, presented the 2008 awards to Sam Wheeler and to Gwen Burns and family. Jeff Gianola and Kelley Day of KOIN News 6 served as emcees.

The evening raised more than $200,000 for the Fund for PSU, which supports scholarships, faculty, and programs throughout campus. Wells Fargo provided lead support for the event, and the Frederick D. and Gail Y. Jubitz Foundation was an associate sponsor. To see the full list of sponsors, visit

The event is named for Simon Benson (1851-1942), an innovator in the Pacific Northwest timber industry and a generous public benefactor of Oregon causes.

Gwen Burns, her sons Bruce and Scott, and her daughter Heather Burns EagonSam Wheeler[Photos: (above) John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth and longtime Ohio senator, shares his thoughts on the importance of education and research at the 2008 Simon Benson Awards Dinner. (at left) Gwen Burns, her sons Bruce and Scott, and her daughter, Heather Burns Eagon, are honored for their multigeneration commitment to community service and philanthropy. (at right) Sam Wheeler, president of the Wheeler Foundation, receives recognition for his many contributions in support of children and youth, education, social services, and arts and culture throughout Oregon. All photos by Prints Charming Photography]