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Meet Wim Wiewel (pronounced Vim VEE-Vell)

When the Portland State community selected Wim Wiewel in 2008 to be its eighth president, the institution renewed its promise to be an active partner in shaping Portland’s future—to fulfilling its motto: “Let Knowledge Serve the City.” With such publications to his credit as Global Universities and Urban Development (2008), The University as Urban Developer (2005), and Partnerships for Smart Growth (2005), Dr. Wiewel’s deep theoretical and practical knowledge of the relationship between universities and the communities they serve have made him the perfect ‘fit’ for PSU.  

Wim and Alice Wiewel

Since joining PSU, Dr. Wiewel has focused his presidency - and the continuing development of the university - on five guiding themes: providing civic leadership through partnerships; improving student success; achieving global excellence; enhancing educational opportunity; and expanding resources to improve effectiveness.  

Despite the financial crisis that hit hardest during the first year of his presidency, PSU has achieved great things on his watch.  For example, PSU is now the largest and most diverse university in the state.  Retention and graduation rates have increased every year, while funded research has gone up 50%, and fundraising has more than doubled.  The university’s business accelerator has been very effective in fostering new businesses and creating new jobs and this year, PSU launched reTHink: a campus-wide effort to update the way the university fosters student success.

President Wiewel’s leadership has not gone unnoticed, and since his arrival at PSU he has received the inaugural Presidential Award from the U.S. Green Building Council's Center for Green Schools as well as the Leadership Award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Higher Education.  He has served as chair of the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities and is currently the chair of the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, as well as a board member of many other local and national organizations.

Wim Wiewel holds degrees in sociology and urban planning from the University of Amsterdam and a PhD in sociology from Northwestern University. Prior to coming to Portland State, he was provost and senior vice president of Academic Affairs at the University of Baltimore, where he led efforts to broaden the university’s role in the city’s revitalization.

Previously, Dr. Wiewel served as dean of the College of Business Administration and the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs of the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he helped establish the Great Cities Program and the Center for Urban Economic Development. Besides the aforementioned books – and other books - he has authored dozens of articles in such publications as Economic Geography and the Journal of the American Planning Association. 

Wim Wiewel is married to the architect Alice Wiewel and together they have four children.


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