Lorry Lokey Donates $1.5 Million to Judaic Studies at Portland State University
Author: Angela D. Abel, Office of University Communications, 503-725-8794
Posted: August 28, 2007
Business Wire founder and Portland native Lorry Lokey has granted $1.5 million, through the Lorry I. Lokey Supporting Foundation of the San Francisco Jewish Community Endowment Fund, to establish the Lorry I. Lokey Chair in Judaic Studies at Portland State University.

The new position will support a scholar in the Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies with expertise in the history and culture of modern European Jewry.

“We’re very grateful for this gift supporting the Judaic Studies Program,” said Michael Reardon, interim PSU president. “Thoroughgoing knowledge of specific cultures, and understanding between cultures, are vital aspects of contemporary life. The new Lokey Chair not only strengthens our project of understanding cultural diversity but also increases appreciation of one of the world’s dynamic, and influential, cultural traditions.”

Founded in 2002, the Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies ( offers an interdisciplinary approach that emphasizes the encounter of Jews and Judaism with modernity. The program, housed in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, currently offers a minor degree, three years of modern Hebrew language and 8–12 courses annually as well as a summer program. Regular programs include the annual Gus & Libby Solomon Lecture, the Writers and Scholars lecture series (in partnership with the Northwest Institute for Judaic Studies), and the Sara Glasgow Cogan scholarship.

“Lorry Lokey continues his vision to better educate university students and the public to appreciate the contributions of the Jewish people to improve our civilization from early history to the present time,” said Harold Schnitzer. “My family and I appreciate this magnificent gift to PSU.”

“This gift is absolutely transformative,” said Michael Weingrad, director of the Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies at PSU. “It meets student interest in the often glorious, often tragic story of modern Jewish experience in Europe, including of course the Holocaust. And it brings us a giant step closer to our vision of four full-time faculty in Judaic Studies, teaching about Jewish life and culture in modern Europe, America, the State of Israel and the pre-modern world.”

One of the nation’s leading philanthropists, Lorry Lokey (lo-KAY) has made significant gifts in recent years to programs in many schools and universities including: Stanford University (his alma mater); the University of Oregon; Leo Baeck (Israel); Technion and Weizmann Institute (Israel); Mills College; Santa Clara University; Bellarmine College Preparatory; Woodside Priory (Woodside, Calif., boys high school) and Alameda elementary school (Portland, Ore.). This is his first gift to Portland State University. A reception for the gift is being planned for fall 2007.

Lokey is emeritus chairman and CEO of the San Francisco-based Business Wire, the international media relations company he founded in 1961. Today, Business Wire has more than 25,000 clients; transmits news releases to more than 309,000 news media, financial analysts and databanks, operates out of 25 domestic and six foreign offices, and has 498 employees.

A graduate of northeast Portland’s Grant High School, Lokey went on to earn a degree in journalism from Stanford. He worked for numerous journalism organizations, including Pacific Stars and Stripes, United Press (now United Press International) and the Longview (Wash.) Daily News. He also served in corporate communications roles before establishing Business Wire.

He has served as trustee for University of Oregon Foundation, Santa Clara University, the Leo Baeck School in Haifa, Israel, and Mills College in Oakland, Calif. He is past president for the Public Relations Roundtable (San Francisco), the San Francisco Publicity Club, and the San Francisco chapter of the Society for Professional Journalists.

Lorry Lokey resides with his partner, Joanne Harrington, in Atherton, Calif. The Oregonian newspaper, in an April 2007 profile, reported that Lokey gave away $163 million in 2006—part of his commitment to donate the majority of his personal wealth over the next decade. This year, grants approved or distributed amount to $65 million so far.

About Portland State University
Portland State University (PSU) serves as a center of opportunity for over 25,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Located in Portland, Oregon, one of the nation’s most livable cities, the University’s innovative approach to education combines academic rigor in the classroom with field-based experiences through internships and classroom projects with community partners. The University’s 47-acre downtown campus exhibits Portland State’s commitment to sustainability with green buildings, while many of the 120 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees incorporate sustainability into the curriculum. PSU’s motto, “Let Knowledge Serve the City,” inspires the teaching and research of an accomplished faculty whose work and students span the globe.

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Source: Cassie McVeety (503-725-5037)
PSU Office of University Relations

Aaron Pearlman (503-725-8449)
PSU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences