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PSU's School of Urban Studies and Planning Renamed for Founder, Nohad A. Toulan
Author: David Santen, Office of Marketing and Communications (503-725-8789)
Posted: April 8, 2005

Portland State University will name its School of Urban Studies and Planning in honor of the founder and emeritus dean of the College of Urban and Public Affairs, Nohad A. Toulan. PSU presented its plans today at the State Board of Higher Education’s monthly meeting.

Nohad A. Toulan, FAICP (Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners), is an internationally recognized urban planner who has contributed extensively to the development of major urban and regional plans in the United States, the Middle East, and North and West Africa. He retired as dean emeritus of the College and professor emeritus of the School of Urban Studies and Planning in 2004, and continues to serve as a special adviser to PSU President Daniel O. Bernstine on the future development of the University District.

“Nohad Toulan is a pioneer planner and educator,” said Ethan Seltzer, director of the Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning. “He is a visionary, and naming the School for him is not just an honor for him, but for all of us as well. We're thrilled, and know we'll have to work hard to live up to our namesake.”

“This is a fitting honor for a remarkable man,” said Lawrence Wallack, dean of the College of Urban and Public Affairs. “Nohad is not just a treasure for the University, but for our entire region. His contributions are unparalleled.”

In 1972, Toulan was on the faculty of Architecture and Planning at Columbia University when he was selected to direct Portland State’s graduate program in Urban Studies, which began with a Ph.D. in Urban Studies and later a Master of Urban and Regional Planning. In 1976, with the addition of the master’s in Public Administration, the School of Urban and Public Affairs was created, with Toulan as its dean. By the late 1990s, the School had transformed into the College of Urban and Public Affairs, comprised of three schools: the Mark O. Hatfield School of Government, the School of Urban Studies and Planning and the School of Community Health.

The College moved to the new Urban Center and Plaza (506 S.W. Mill) site in October 2000, the first major development in the University District, bringing together mass transit (Portland Streetcar and TriMet stops), academics (the College, and PSU’s Distance Learning Center) and commerce (Rice Junkies, Pizzicato Pizza, Seattle’s Best Coffee and the PSU Bookstore).

Toulan has received numerous state and national awards for his leadership and vision as a professional planner. Under his leadership, the College of Urban and Public Affairs gained national and international prominence for having one of the nation’s most comprehensive programs of public service. His research and publications cover such areas as city and regional planning, housing and urban design. Toulan received the 1997 Mayor’s Spirit of Portland Award for his contributions to the city. During his 1984–1985 leave of absence from Portland State, Toulan directed the preparation of a comprehensive regional plan for the Holy City of Mecca that presented extraordinary design challenges.

A native of Egypt, Toulan grew up in Cairo and Alexandria. He received a degree in Architecture from the University of Cairo, a master’s in City Planning from Berkeley, and a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. In 1965, he became the first planning director of the Greater Cairo Region and is the author of many of the concepts that continue to shape policy in that growing region.

The Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning, part of the College of Urban and Public Affairs at Portland State University, is the nation's oldest continuously operating instructional program in urban studies. Beginning with an undergraduate certificate in 1959, the School now offers a bachelor’s degree in community development, undergraduate minors in community development and real estate development, master’s degrees in urban and regional planning and urban studies, and doctoral degrees in urban studies and urban studies—regional science.

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Ethan Seltzer (503-725-4045)
Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning