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Portland State University

Portland State University is a public coeducational research university located in the southwest University District of downtown Portland, Oregon, United States.


724 SW Harrison
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Victor E. Viking
Green White
West Coast

College History


Portland State University was established as the Vanport Extension Center in June 1946 to satisfy the demand for higher education in Portland for returning World War II veterans, taking advantage of the G.I. Bill. The G.I. Bill was passed in 1944 to provide college, high school or vocational education for returning World War II veterans, as well as one year of unemployment compensation. Classes were held in the Vanport Junior High School. This first summer session had 221 students, and tuition and fees were $50. Over 1,410 students registered for the 1946 fall term, which was delayed until October 7, 1946 due to a lack of space. Since the population in Vanport City, Oregon was decreasing after World War II, the extension center was able to use buildings created for other purposes: two childcare centers, a recreation building with three classrooms, and a shopping center, which required substantial modification to house a library, offices, and six classrooms. In addition to Vanport Junior High School, Lincoln and Jefferson high schools were used after school hours, as well as the University of Oregon's dental and medical schools, located in Portland. Lincoln Hall circa 1920, then a high school, now serves as the university's theatre and performing arts center Following the May 30 Vanport Flood of 1948, the college became known as "the college that wouldn't die" for refusing to close after the flood. The term was coined by Lois Hennessy, a student who wrote about the college and the flood in the Christian Science Monitor, though students nicknamed the school "The college without a future." (Hennessy was the mother of poet Gary Snyder.) The school occupied Grant High School in the summer of 1948, then to hastily converted buildings at the Oregon Shipyard, known as the Oregon Ship. In 1953, the school moved to downtown Portland and occupied the vacated buildings of Lincoln High School on SW Broadway street, including Lincoln Hall, then known as "Old Main." The school changed its name to the Portland State Extension Center between December 1951 and February 1952,and in 1955, the Center changed its name to Portland State College to mark its maturation into a four-year degree-granting institution. It was also called "The U by the Slough".By 1956, the veterans had subsided, and baby food was no longer stocked in the bookstore. Portland State's entry in the 1965 General Electric College Bowl Team won the nationally televised quiz show that pitted teams of college students from across the country against each other. The team knocked off its competitors for five consecutive weeks, retiring as champions, and setting a new record for total points scored. The University's Smith Memorial Student Union building was named after team member Michael J. Smith, who competed in the tournament while suffering from cystic fibrosis and died in 1968. Architecture at the university has been controversial. In 1968, incoming university president Gregory Wolfe commented that the buildings were distressing evidence of Stalinist cubism on campus, although urban renewal chairman Ira Keller found them to be "perfectly lovely." Portland State University's growth for the next couple of decades was restricted under the Oregon University System's 1929 ruling that no public university or college in Oregon could duplicate the programs offered by another, with grandfathered exclusions for the University of Oregon and Oregon State University.Nevertheless, graduate programs were added in 1961 and doctoral programs were added in 1972. The institution was granted university status by the Oregon State Board of Higher Education in 1969, becoming Portland State University.

College Specialty


Portland State University�s mission is to enhance the intellectual, social, cultural and economic qualities of urban life by providing access throughout the life span to a quality liberal education for undergraduates and an appropriate array of professional and graduate programs especially relevant to metropolitan areas. The University conducts research and community service that support a high quality educational environment and reflect issues important to the region. It actively promotes the development of a network of educational institutions to serve the community.



Jean M. Auel - author of The Clan of the Cave Bear Bree Schaaf Boyer - U.S. Olympic Bobsledder, 2010 Winter Olympics, Vancouver BC Julienne Bu�i? - hijacker of TWA Flight 355 Ken Butler - artist and experimental musician Tony Curtis - backup tight end for the Dallas Cowboys Mark Dacascos - actor and martial artist Carolyn Davidson - creator of the Nike swoosh D. Scott Davis - chairman and CEO, United Parcel Service of America.[58] Paul De Muniz - Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice Clint Didier - former NFL tight end, Super Bowl XVII Champion David James Duncan - novelist, essayist Mike Erickson - frequent candidate for elected office and entrepreneur Dan Frantz - American football player for the Chicago Rush Katie Harman - 2002 Miss America Adam Hayward - linebacker for Tampa Bay Buccaneers Darick Holmes - a former NFL running back Issa - singer, songwriter and producer signed with Akon Dave Jansen - wrestler and mixed martial artist June Jones - head football coach, Southern Methodist University Travis Knight- president & CEO, LAIKA Terence Knox - actor Darren Kimura - American businessman Francisco Laguna Correa - writer, awarded the National Literary Prize of the North American Academy of the Spanish Language Jeff Lahti - retired Major League Baseball pitcher and 1982 World Series Champion Joseph LeBaron - current U.S. Ambassador to Qatar Neil Lomax - National Football League quarterback, played for St. Louis/Arizona Cardinals (1981�89) Courtney Love - actress and frontwoman of alternative rock band Hole Holly Madison - Playboy model, Reality TV Star "The Girls Next Door" Fariborz Maseeh - pioneer in the field of micro-electro mechanical systems (MEMS) and philanthropist who founded IntelliSense in 1991 Charles Moose - former police chief for Montgomery County, Maryland, one of the sites of the Beltway Sniper attacks Michael Moynihan- Journalist, author, musician Jack Ohman - editorial cartoonist for The Oregonian Steve Olin - late Major League Baseball pitcher Musse Olol - social activist and recipient of the Director's Community Leadership Award (DCLA) Pierre Ouellette - science fiction author Mike Pierce - UFC fighter Bill Plympton - animator Mike Richardson - founder, Dark Horse Comics Gordon Riese - Portland State pitcher and Pac-10 Referee R. William Riggs - former Oregon Supreme Court justice Barbara Roberts - 34th Governor of Oregon Harry Anastasiou - pioneer in peace-building initiatives across the world and author of two books Betty Roberts - first woman to serve on the Oregon Supreme Court and Oregon Court of Appeals Deborah J. Ross - science fiction and fantasy author Richard Sanders - wrestler, NCAA, FILA and Summer Olympics Jordan Senn - linebacker for Carolina Panthers DeShawn Shead safety for the 2014 Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks Lawrence Leighton Smith - conductor and pianist Esperanza Spalding - jazz musician Julius Thomas - tight end for the Denver Broncos Tom Trebelhorn - Major League Baseball manager Ime Udoka - current assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs in the National Basketball Association Freeman Williams - retired National Basketball Association guard Norm Winningstad - businessman and engineer Randall Woodfield - serial killer dubbed The I-5 Killer



Urban 50 acres (20 ha)