A campaign to Let Knowledge Serve
Author: University Communications
Posted: February 1, 2019

The University launches a new $300 million fundraising effort to let knowledge from PSU serve our city and change the world.

AT PORTLAND STATE, a single classroom may include a high school valedictorian who is the first in her family to attend college, an international student from China, a 30-something completing a second degree while juggling job and family.

The University is committed to helping each of them along the path to becoming successful scholars and citizens. That requires inspired faculty, collaborative programs and state-of-the-art facilities—all aspirations of Let Knowledge Serve: The Campaign for PSU announced in October. 

The campaign is the largest in the University’s history, with the goal of raising $300 million in philanthropic contributions by 2021, the year of Portland State’s 75th anniversary.

“We are thrilled to launch this important effort,” says PSU President Rahmat Shoureshi. “Everything we do at Portland State—from creating pathways for student success to supporting the groundbreaking research of faculty to enabling regional economic development opportunities—affirms our powerful mission to ‘let knowledge serve our city’ and the world.” 

The campaign focuses on four key areas: supporting students, empowering faculty, enhancing campus facilities, and powering initiatives to address urban challenges and opportunities. Key giving opportunities include scholarships, cooperative educational internships, named professorships, and support for centers of excellence, including PSU’s Homelessness Research & Action Collaborative and Digital Cities Testbed Center (see story on page 12).

SUPPORTING student success is the campaign’s highest priority. Portland State serves the most diverse student body among Oregon’s universities. Fully 75 percent of its 27,670 students work while attending school, and 35 percent are the first in their families to attend college. Scholarships and other resources ease financial burdens and provide new learning opportunities that allow students to thrive. 

“For students, private support is a game changer,” says PSU Foundation President Bill Boldt. “It can be the difference between graduation and giving up.”

More than 30,000 donors already have come forward to support students and faculty and help construct or transform campus facilities, including the Viking Pavilion at the Peter W. Stott Center, home to PSU athletics; the Karl Miller Center, home to The School of Business; and the 724 SW Harrison Building (formerly Neuberger Hall).

PSU’s campaign takes its name from its motto, Let Knowledge Serve the City, established three decades ago to honor the connections between Portland and its urban research university, and to celebrate a shared vision of progress and vitality.

“Every great city needs a great university,” says Walter Van Valkenburg, PSU Foundation board chairman and Portland attorney. “I believe that PSU and Portland rise together, and that the vitality sparked at PSU creates a ripple effect that benefits every Oregonian.”

To learn more, read campaign stories, or make a gift, visit