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Alumni Connections: Fall 2009
Author: Kori Allen '84; Kathryn Kirkland; Pat Squire, MPA '95
Posted: September 14, 2009

My story, your story

IT WAS in the midst of the early 1980s recession that I found my way to Portland State.

I started at a private liberal arts college here in Oregon, when financial aid and grants were plentiful. By the end of my sophomore year, they had dried up. In addition, I learned something valuable during those first two years: I wanted to be at a larger institution with diversity. So I moved back in with mom and dad, enrolled in Portland State. If I remember correctly, I was a little younger than PSU's then average age student of 28, but I was typical in other respects: I was working and relied on TriMet to get me to and from campus.

Portland State proved to be full of richness. The students came from all walks of life and from many countries, and the professors were (and continue to be) passionately active in their fields. Suddenly, I was alive, challenged, and engaged in ways I hadn't imagined.

Kori AllenI graduated, the first in my family with a college degree, a little later than the scheduled four years with a Bachelor of Arts, a Certificate in Central European studies, and a six-month internship in the Oregon Legislature under my belt. The education and experience exceeded expectations and I'll be forever grateful.

And this is why I've been involved in the Portland State Alumni Association since 1999, and this year I have the good fortune of being its president.

We are in the process of surveying a sample of alumni to better understand your needs and interests. With over 120,000 alums of this illustrious University, there will be dispersion, but also some prominent themes.

We've got an interesting year ahead. Our new president has exciting plans for our University and community, and in these tough economic times, we also want to ramp up our services so that others can be as fortunate as we've been in graduating from PSU. Later this summer we will embark on a revised strategic plan. If you have ideas, or want to get involved, please get in touch with the Alumni office.

Kori Allen '84
President, PSU Alumni Association

Changing of the board

THE PORTLAND STATE University Alumni Association wants to thank retiring board directors Jeff Austin '77; Gerry Scovil '65, MS '68; and Angela Wykoff '72, MS '75, '80. All were board presidents during their terms.

Austin, immediate past-president, also served on the finance and executive committees. Scovil, board president in 2007-08, led the PSU Advocates committee. Wykoff, also a leader with the PSU Advocates, was board president in 2006-07 and served on the search committees for President Wim Wiewel and for the dean of the Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science.

Welcome to our newest members Steve Brannan '57, retired PSU education professor; Aubre Dickson '98, acquisitions manager with Homestead Capital; Al Fitzpatrick MA '83, retired school principal; Eric Graham '87, president at Montgomery and Graham, Inc.; Richard Helzer '62, attorney at Helzer Cromar; Karen McCarty '06, community affairs specialist; Nancy Morgan '87, retired account executive manager, Bonneville Power Administration; and Krishnakumar Regupathy MS '99, engineering technology development manager at Intel Corp.

Alumni Board officers for 2009-2010 are President Kori Allen '84, investment manager; Vice President Behzad Hosseini '96, MBA '97, general manager at PGE; Treasurer Gina Leon '95, vice president at US Bank; and Secretary Kendal McDonald MA '02, office manager and archeologist at Applied Archaeological Research, Inc.

international students prepare to board the Portland Spirit
Graduating international students and guests gather for a group photo just before boarding the Spririt of Portland June 12 for the annual Bon Voyage Cruise.

Reflections on connections

WITH ONE FOOT firmly in the boomer camp and a somewhat "millennial" spirit, I never imagined I would be in one place as long as 20 years. But here I am, reflecting on my years directing Alumni Relations at Portland State.

To say that things have changed is an understatement. In 1989, we served 16,000 students and 48,000 alumni. Today our numbers are 27,000 students and 120,000 alumni living around the world. And our staff has grown from two to six.

However, some things remain the same, such as finding the time to keep up with all of our alumni and friends. But we've managed, and through the years have held alumni gatherings in such places as Kuwait City, Tokyo, Washington, D.C., and Bend. I've found that alumni share many of the same PSU experiences no matter where they live now.

I want to remember some colleagues and alumni who left us too early with unfinished agendas and lives.

Jane Wiener '69, a deputy district attorney who attended PSU as a quadriplegic, was a wonderful alumni board member and advocate for children. She passed away in 1997.

Debbie Murdock, assistant to the president for government relations at PSU, worked closely with the PSU Advocates and was a mentor to many of our students and a huge contributor to this campus through her lobbying efforts. She died in 2007.

David Fitzpatrick '75, MA '77, senior vice president at The Standard, was PSU Alumni Association president and an enthusiastic Viking supporter who made a difference in many lives. He died suddenly this past spring.

And finally, professor John Damis, an outstanding professor, scholar, athlete, and most recently director of the Middle East Studies Center, who was a friend and guide to my learning about the Middle East and our many alumni there. John died in June.

There is a scholarship named for each one of these individuals—scholarships that will certainly make a difference to our students right now. For information, visit and click on scholarships.

I always look forward to meeting alumni and hearing your PSU stories, so keep in touch (

Pat Squire, MPA '95
Assistant Vice President, International Alumni Relations
Executive Director, PSU Alumni Association

Just Click and Salute

BRING A LIFETIME of recognition to a Portland State alumnus, student, or faculty member by nominating them for a PSU Alumni Association 2010 award to be presented at PSU Salutes in February.

In addition to the annual Distinguished Faculty Achievement and Outstanding Alumni Service awards, four new categories were added this past year to better reflect the impact and contributions of our alumni. They are:

  • Outstanding International Alumnus Award
  • Distinguished Alumni Service Award
  • Outstanding Young Alumnus Award
  • John Hakanson Student Advancement Award

Award criteria, past recipients, and a short nomination form can be found at Nominations must be received by November 1. For more information or a hard copy of the form, contact the Office of Alumni Relations at 503-725-4948 or e-mail