PSU Foundation announces 2016 Faculty and Staff Excellence Award recipients
Author: Jyoti Roy, PSU Foundation
Posted: May 31, 2016

The Portland State University Foundation is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2016 Philanthropic Cultivation Award and Philanthropic Leadership Award — Dr. Natan Meir and Dr. Robert Liebman, respectively.

Dr. Natan Meir is Chair of the Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies, and joined PSU in 2008 as the Lorry I. Lokey Associate Professor of Judaic Studies.

Dr. Meir worked with an anonymous donor to establish the largest endowed scholarship in the program’s history – a $250,000 commitment that is generating annual scholarships to students majoring in Judaic Studies.

The PSU Foundation created the Philanthropic Cultivation Award in 2014 to recognize outstanding faculty for their role as a partner in cultivating philanthropic support for a priority program within their unit.

“Dr. Meir has shown himself as a tireless advocate for the Judaic Studies program since his arrival and is very active in both the Portland and national communities,” says College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean Karen Marrongelle, who nominated Dr. Meir for the award. 

Dr. Robert Liebman is currently Professor of Sociology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, however during his almost 30-year career at PSU he served as faculty lead for the creation of the Judaic Studies program, Presiding Officer of the Faculty Senate, and Vice-President of AAUP-PSU.

The PSU Foundation created the Faculty Philanthropic Leadership Award in 2014 to recognize outstanding faculty for their work as a direct partner in obtaining a significant philanthropic gift.

Dr. Liebman’s glowing letters of support for his nomination all point to the fact that, as Rabbi and Professor Emeritus Joshua Stampfer said, Dr. Liebman “is the one person primarily responsible for the existence of a Judaic Studies program at PSU.”

The name of the program – The Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies - reflects the significance of its establishment. “Dr. Liebman’s persistence, his collaborative style, his engagement with the community, and his academic acumen,” were what made PSU’s bid for the Schnitzner family’s $1 million matching grant successful over other prominent Portland area institutions, said Cheryl Livneh, Professor Emerita of PSU’s Graduate School of Education.

The PSU Foundation awards are part of Portland State University’s annual Faculty and Staff Excellence Awards, which honor, recognize and incentivize the ongoing excellence of PSU faculty and academic professionals, for their research and their dedication to our students and our academy.

Recipients are chosen through a selection committee, and this year, with the inclusion of a gift agreement from the State of Qatar, award citations will be accompanied by $2,500 taxable honoraria.