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Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter to speak at PSU's Simon Benson Awards Dinner, April 7
Author: Kerri Griesbeck (503-725-8794) PSU Office of University Communications
Posted: April 7, 2009

Meg Chuprevich (503-725-8212)
PSU Office of University Relations

(Portland, Ore.) April 2, 2009 - Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter will be the featured speaker at the 10th anniversary of Portland State University's annual Simon Benson Awards Dinner on April 7, 2009. This year's event will include the presentation of the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Partnership Award (JRCPA) for Campus-Community Partnerships. It will also honor Fariborz Maseeh and feature a retrospective of all previous Simon Benson Award honorees.

The JRCPA is a "hallmark" program of the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Partnership Foundation, which
recognizes the best practices in community service between campus-community partnerships already in existence, with a particular emphasis on shared decision making and academic integration of service. This year, the award focused exclusively on Portland State University with 26 applications submitted from across campus. Carter will be announcing the winning community-university partnership team and awarding them $10,000. The two runners-up will receive $5,000 awards. For more information on the finalists and all other applicants, visit

Now in its 10th year, the Simon Benson Awards continue to raise the bar for community engagement and philanthropy in Oregon. Named after one of Portland's philanthropic pioneers, the award recognizes visionary individuals who have generously given time and resources to improve the lives of generations of Oregonians.

Background on Keynote Speaker and Award Recipient

Rosalynn Carter has dedicated her life to serving others. She has maintained a life-long commitment to issues affecting women and children, and to mental health advocacy. With President Jimmy Carter, she founded the Carter Institute in 1982 to advance human rights, alleviate human suffering, wage peace, fight disease, and build hope.

Fariborz Maseeh '80, MS '84, founded the Massiah Foundation in 2000 to support outstanding organizations with the potential to improve our collective future. Universities, hospitals, children's services, and cultural institutions in Oregon and throughout the nation benefit from Maseeh's visionary philanthropy.

Past Award Recipients and Keynote Speakers
                Award Recipient                                            Speaker
2008        Gwen Burns Family, Samuel C. Wheeler        John Glenn

2007        Robert K. '63 & Jane K. Morrow '65 MS '77    Magic Johnson
                Robert G. and Sharon L. Miller

2006        Gary '67 and Barbara Ames '68                     Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan
                Ken and Marta Thrasher '90

2004        Thomas B. & Caroline P. Stoel                       Walter Cronkite
                Patricia L. Wessinger

2003        Elizabeth H. "Becky" Johnson                        Madeleine Albright
                James F. Miller

2002        Jeannine B. Cowles                                       Rudolph Giuliani
                Ernest C. Swigert

2001        Peter and Julie Stott                                      Bob Dole
                Duncan and Cindy Campbell

2000        Maurie and Mary Clark                                   Mario Cuomo
                Don Frisbee

1999        Paul Bragdon                                                 Colin Powell
                Jean Vollum

The gala event will be held at the Oregon Convention Center (777 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.) and includes a reception, dinner, and entertainment. The reception starts at 6 p.m. and dinner begins at 7 p.m. The event will be emceed by Jeff Gianola of Portland's KOIN-6 News, a media sponsor of the event. Sponsorships, tables, and individual tickets for the event are now available to the public.

For more information contact Meg Chuprevich at 503-725-8212 or at You can also visit Proceeds from the Simon Benson Awards Dinner support the Fund for PSU, which includes support for student scholarships and programs.

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