Portland State Announces Rep. Peter DeFazio as 2006 Spring Commencement Speaker
Author: Erin Malecha Arias (503-725-8794) PSU Office of Marketing and Communications
Posted: February 20, 2006

President Daniel O. Bernstine announced today that Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio has accepted the University’s invitation to deliver the spring 2006 commencement address, Saturday, June 17, 2006.

RepPeterDeFazio.jpg“Congressman DeFazio is a national leader on issues of importance to our students’ future. He has been a voice of reason in Congress on the budget and been outspoken against the growing deficit and debt burden,” said Portland State President Daniel O. Bernstine. “Congressman DeFazio has fought for investments by the Federal government in education, transportation and the environment. I expect his call to action to our graduates to be compelling and inspiring.”

“Graduating with a college degree is truly one of life's great achievements,” said Congressman DeFazio. “I hope to offer some last minute thoughts and advice to these students as they set off on the next phase of their lives, as citizens, professionals, and productive members of communities throughout Oregon, the nation and the world.”

Congressman Peter DeFazio was first elected to the U.S. Congress in 1986. He is dean of the Oregon House delegation, and represents southwest Oregon from Corvallis in the north down to the California border, and from the west coast to the Cascade Mountains in the east.

The 10-term member sits on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where he serves as ranking Democrat on the House Subcommittee on Highways, Transit and Pipelines. He also serves on the Aviation and Railroad Subcommittees. DeFazio also serves on the House Committee on Homeland Security, where he sits on the Subcommittee on Economic Security, Infrastructure Protection and Cybersecurity. Finally, DeFazio serves on the House Resources Committee, where he sits on the Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health.

This past August, Congressman DeFazio was instrumental in passage of the SAFETEA-LU bill, reauthorizing the nation’s investment in transportation systems. The SAFETEA-LU bill provides substantial support for key Oregon projects and is vital to Oregon’s economic future. This legislation includes $160 million for reconstruction of bridges on I-5 and $40 million for reconstruction of bridges throughout Oregon. The bill also includes funding for the expansion of light rail and the Portland Sreetcar, in addition to many street and road projects. These projects lead to economic development for Oregon’s communities and create jobs for a highly diverse workforce.

DeFazio and his wife, Myrnie Daut, live in Springfield, Ore. He has logged over three million miles traveling between Oregon and Washington, D.C., about three times each month, to serve the people of Oregon's Fourth Congressional District in the United States Congress. One of DeFazio's proudest accomplishments is the more than $245,000 in after-tax salary he has contributed to education scholarships and to reduce the national debt. Those contributions have funded 147 scholarships for displaced Oregon workers at Oregon’s community colleges and universities.

For a photo of Rep. DeFazio, visit For more information, visit

Portland State University’s spring commencement ceremonies will take place on Saturday, June 17, at 10 a.m. in Portland’s Rose Garden Arena. The ceremony will be broadcast live on Oregon Public Broadcasting television, beginning at 10 a.m., and will be hosted by Stephanie Stricklen and Russ Lewis, newcasters from KGW 8 (NBC).

For additional information, members of the media should contact Erin Malecha Arias at 503-725-8794. Students and families needing additional information should visit

Portland State University, Oregon's only urban university, is the largest and most diverse in the state system. The University's position in Oregon's economic and cultural center allows for deep community engagement and the creation of partnerships with hundreds of organizations throughout the region—partnerships that give PSU students valuable learning opportunities as they solve real-world problems of business and community. Portland State offers nearly 120 undergraduate, master's and doctoral degrees, as well as graduate certificates and continuing education programs, serving more students and confers more master's degrees annually than any other Oregon university.

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Penny Dodge (202-225-6416)
Office of Congressman DeFazio

For Immediate Release (#06-029)