Portland State Announces Mercy Corps CEO as Its 2005 Spring Commencement Speaker
Author: Jeanie-Marie Price (503-725-3773) PSU Office of Marketing and Communications
Posted: February 18, 2005
President Daniel O. Bernstine announced today that Mercy Corps CEO Neal Keny-Guyer has accepted the University's invitation to deliver the spring 2005 commencement address.

"Given the gravity of events throughout the world during the past year and Mercy Corps' mission to help build communities around the globe, I cannot think of a more appropriate perspective to be shared with this graduating class," said Bernstine. "In addition, PSU's increasing focus on international programs and education; the development of partnerships between PSU and Mercy Corps; and the role of both organizations in the local community makes Neal the perfect choice."

"Portland State University's faculty, staff and students promote the humanity and compassion that truly connect Portland with the rest of the world," said Keny-Guyer. "Mercy Corps is thankful to have a neighbor like PSU, and I am honored to share my personal and professional experiences with the class of 2005."

Keny-Guyer joined Mercy Corps in 1994 as CEO. During his leadership, Portland-based Mercy Corps has emerged as a leading international relief and development agency, with programs today in more than 35 countries, over 2,000 staff, and an annual operating budget of nearly $200 million. A native of Tennessee, Keny-Guyer earned his B.A. in public policy and religion from Duke University and a Master of Public and Private Management from Yale.

Since 1979, Mercy Corps has provided over $1 billion in assistance to people in 80 nations. Mercy Corps is assisting over 250,000 people in India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia left homeless and injured by the powerful tsunami through projects that address emergency needs and lay the foundation for longer-term recovery. More than 91 percent of the agency's resources are allocated to programs that directly assist those in need.

This term, Mercy Corps has partnered with Portland State to offer students "International Humanitarian Relief: Reports from Mercy Corps Staff" every Wednesday from noon to 1 p.m. Topics have ranged from Food for Work Programs to Microfinance in Afghanistan. In addition, on February 9, PSU Provost Michael Reardon presented Mercy Corps with a check for $2,000. This money was raised by and from students on campus to aid in the tsunami relief efforts.

Portland State University's spring commencement ceremonies will take place on Saturday, June 11, at 3 p.m. in Portland's Rose Garden Arena. For additional information, members of the media should contact Jeanie-Marie Price at 503-725-3773. Students and families needing additional information should visit

Neal Keny-Guyer's career began in America's troubled inner cities in 1976. As special projects coordinator for Cities-In-Schools (a nationwide organization known now as Communities-in-Schools), he worked with at-risk youth to stem high school drop-out rates and gang activity among minority young people in Washington, D.C., and Atlanta, Georgia. In 1980, Keny-Guyer moved to Thailand to aid Cambodian refugees. As field coordinator for CARE/UNICEF, he organized an emergency relief program along the Thai-Cambodian border, including cross-border distribution of food and agricultural supplies. Over the next nine years, Keny-Guyer designed and implemented high-impact relief and development programs in some of the world's most war-torn and politically sensitive regions for Save the Children including Somalia, Lebanon, West Bank/Gaza, Afghanistan/Pakistan and Sudan.

In 1990, Keny-Guyer focused his efforts stateside, founding Keny-Guyer Associates in Menlo Park, Calif. to offer strategic planning and organizational development consulting to businesses, foundations and non-profit agencies. In addition to being a father, Keny-Guyer serves on the boards of local and national organizations, including InterAction, an alliance of humanitarian and development organizations, and on Yale School of Management's Board of Advisors.

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 more than 100 undergraduate, master's and doctoral degrees, as well as graduate certificates and continuing education programs. PSU serves more students and confers more master's degrees annually than any other Oregon university.

# # #

Eric Block (503-450-1965)
Mercy Corps