News

PSU Raises More than $1 Million for Student Success
Author: Steve Beavan
Posted: November 5, 2015

Portland, Ore – Nov. 5, 2015 – Portland State University raised more than $1 million at the 16th Annual Simon Benson Awards Dinner on Oct. 29. This was the fourth year in a row that donors invested more than $1 million in PSU. Held at the Oregon Convention Center, almost 1,500 guests celebrated the generosity of PSU supporters, the impact of philanthropy and the accomplishments of students who depend on philanthropy to earn a college degree.

“I’m exceptionally proud of PSU and all we accomplish in our classrooms, in our labs and out in the community,” Portland State President Wim Wiewel told supporters. “I know that we wouldn’t be this successful without your help.”

The evening highlights included keynote speaker Arianna Huffington, chair, president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group.

The Simon Benson Awards Dinner is named after one of Oregon’s earliest philanthropists, and also prominently featured awards for alumni achievement and philanthropy.

Greg Ness, MBA ’87, received the 2015 Simon Benson Award for Alumni Achievement. He leads Standard Insurance Company (“The Standard”), a corporation founded in 1906. Ness joined The Standard in 1979, built a successful career in the financial services industry, and since 2011 has served as chairman, president and chief executive officer. Even after three decades in corporate management, Ness says his most valuable professional move was returning to school and earning an MBA at PSU.

The 2015 Simon Benson Award for Philanthropy was presented to the Schlesinger family, whose passionate commitment to Oregon and higher education transforms lives. Now in its fourth generation, Schlesinger Companies, a Portland-based real estate group, manages and develops landmark properties in the Pacific Northwest. The Schlesinger Family Foundation was created to make a positive difference in the community. The Schlesinger family supports Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), OHSU and U of O scholarships, Oregon Coast Aquarium and Randall Children’s Hospital. PSU was honored to be the first recipient of a gift from the foundation in 1983. The foundation provides valuable contributions to PSU through support of scholarships, the Center for Real Estate and other programs.

PSU also exceeded the $150,000 Maybelle Clark Macdonald Fund scholarship challenge grant, raising more than $185,000.

For the fourth year, Bank of America was the presenting sponsor for the annual celebration of the impact of philanthropy. Keynote Speaker’s Reception sponsors were Schlesinger Companies and the Schlesinger Family Foundation. Principal sponsors were David Evans and Associates, Inc., Fred Meyer, Harold & Arlene Schnitzer Care Foundation, Miller Family Holdings, LLC, Peter W. Stott Foundation and Vernier Software & Technology.

Simon Benson Awards Dinner
The Simon Benson Awards Dinner is PSU’s signature event celebrating philanthropy. More than $9 million has been raised since 1999, to support student success along with the faculty and programs to support that success at Oregon’s urban research university.

About Portland State University (PSU)
Oregon's urban research university, recognized for excellence in sustainability and community engagement, is located in the heart of downtown Portland. PSU's motto is "Let Knowledge Serve the City," and it offers more than 200 degrees with opportunities to work with businesses, schools and organizations on real-world projects. www.pdx.edu

About the PSU Foundation
The PSU Foundation supports Portland State’s mission to be a leading public university and strives to fulfill the philanthropic needs of the university. Gifts to PSU support academic excellence, cutting-edge research, exceptional faculty and valuable community partnerships. Philanthropy has the ability to transform PSU. www.portlandstate-foundation.org