Former Portland State football player’s family pledges $2M to build PSU Athletics Hall of Fame exhibit and to support student scholarships
Author: By Cate Soulages, PSU Foundation
Posted: October 14, 2017

Former Portland State University football player Dennis Beetham and his wife Janet Beetham have donated $2 million to support scholarships for PSU science students and to create a permanent Portland State Athletics Hall of Fame exhibit. 

“We are honored by this philanthropic investment from a family whose ties to PSU span more than 50 years,” PSU President Rahmat Shoureshi said. “By giving back in this way, the Beethams will support future scientists and researchers as well as celebrate our student-athletes.” 

Half of the Beethams’ gift will directly support capital expansion of the Viking Pavilion, including construction of a Hall of Fame exhibit to honor the history and legacy of current and future student-athletes. The Viking Pavilion is expected to open in April 2018.

More than 100 teams and individuals have been named to the Hall of Fame since 1997. The permanent installation is planned for the north lobby of the Peter W. Stott Center, adjacent to the Pavilion arena. The exhibit will be free and open to the public. 

“Through this generous contribution, the Beethams are helping to raise the profile of Vikings Athletics in a way that will have a profound impact,” PSU Athletics Director Valerie Cleary said. 

Neil Lomax, one of PSU’s inaugural Hall of Fame inductees who was a PSU standout quarterback, All-American and NFL player twice selected to play in the NFL’s Pro Bowl, said: “A permanent space to celebrate the hard work and dedication of Portland State players, teams and supporters will be a motivator to current and future student-athletes, and a source of inspiration to every visitor to the new Viking Pavilion.”

Dennis Beetham played both defensive end and middle linebacker for the Vikings from 1961 through 1963. After earning degrees at Portland State, Oregon State and the University of Oregon, Dennis founded DB Western, a chemical engineering corporation with locations in North Bend, Ore., and La Porte, Texas. Janet Beetham attended PSU as an undergraduate — where she met Dennis in a zoology class — and later returned to school at age 45 to ultimately earn a B.A. in Public Relations. 

In addition to creating the Beetham Athletics Hall of Fame, the second half of the Beetham family’s donation — $1 million — will create an endowed scholarship fund for students in the sciences who have demonstrated the desire and drive to succeed academically but need financial assistance.  

“Janet and I were both the first in our families to attend college, and we understand how challenging it is to go to school while juggling work, family or other commitments,” Dennis Beetham said. “We want to help committed students who are working their way through college and striving to change their lives through the power of education.” 

The Viking Pavilion at the Peter W. Stott Center will be the home of PSU Viking Athletics and a mid-size events venue for Portland. Other funding for the Pavilion came from public bond funds approved by the Oregon Legislature, private philanthropy, and a capital contribution from OHSU, a program partner in the facility.

Contact Cate Soulages at