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Alumni Donor Profile: Craig Iverson, Accounting ‘78
Alumni Donor Profile: Craig Iverson, Accounting ‘78

Almost four decades have passed since Accounting alumni Craig Iverson attended night classes at PSU’s School of Business in preparation for the CPA exam. Craig balanced tax and auditing courses while working as a full time lawyer for a large Portland law firm and raising two young sons with his wife. Nearly forty years later, Craig is retired and life has slowed down considerably, but he wants to give back, both with his time and his philanthropy, to the institution that helped him make a transformative career change.
 
Prior to enrolling at Portland State, Craig attended University of Oregon from 1963 to 1967, graduating with a degree in economics.

“I enjoyed the economics and business classes because I had an innate interest in small business management, having been raised by a father who was quite a successful retail lumberman,” said Craig.

Craig then attended Stanford Law School, graduating with a Juris Doctorate degree. He passed the Oregon Bar exam in 1971 and went to work for a large Portland law firm which marked the beginning of a 40 year career which ended with his retirement in 2011. 

The law firm's practice consisted primarily of litigation rather than business and tax advising, and after several years of working in that environment Craig desired to work as an advisor to small businesses and their owners.
 
What drew you specifically to PSU’s School of Business?
I learned that the PSU Business School had a good accounting program and that I could resume my accounting education at PSU by taking classes at night. If I could accumulate 30 hours of accounting classes I could take the national CPA exam and if I passed it, and also got the requisite experience of working for an accounting firm for one year, I could then combine a CPA license with my lawyering experience to look for the work in which I was interested. It seemed like a lot of work but it would be worth doing if it would lead to work that I enjoyed. I took 6 hours of classes per term at PSU at night for four terms, which when added to the accounting hours from ten years earlier at the UO, gave me enough accounting hours to take the CPA exam.
 
What role did PSU play in helping you further your career goals?
I took a review course and passed the CPA exam in May, 1979, receiving my CPA license one year later after working for a local accounting firm. Shortly thereafter I went to work for Wade Strowger, a Portland lawyer/CPA, who had practiced for many years and had gathered a remarkable following of successful individuals who needed good financial and legal advice. Many of them owned businesses, which also required monitoring.
 
Wade Strowger was very busy and needed some good help, it was a great opportunity for me to put my combined education to work giving advice regarding tax and financial matters, business transactions, estate planning and administration, real estate transactions and the like - the variety was unlimited. Wade Strowger and I practiced together for many years, he eventually retired and handed the business to me which I continued to run until I too retired in 2011.

One of the highlights was replacing Mr. Strowger as a Board member of a local tugboat company in 1989, a position I still hold now in my 29th year despite being otherwise retired, just the type of opportunity I was looking for when I resumed taking accounting classes at PSU in 1977.

None of this would have happened if those night classes had not been available at PSU. The classes were a great combination of excellent professors and motivated students. 
 
How will you stay connected to The School of Business at PSU?
My wife Linda and I recently decided to fund an annual scholarship for a PSU business student who is returning to school with a view towards redirecting his or her career. I have also volunteered to mentor business and accounting students, both decisions have been based on my appreciation for the career changing opportunities that PSU provided me many years ago.

For those who are considering such a career change, I encourage you to "Go for it!"! It sure worked for me.

The Iverson Family Business Scholarship has the following criteria: 
Field of Study: Undergraduate Business Major 
GPA: 3.0 or Greater
Financial Need
Preference: Student Returning to School After Hiatus 

The Iversons created this scholarship to support the business programs at Portland State, enabling students to resume and complete their education.

Information about The  School of Business undergraduate scholarships can be found here. Applications open mid-October, 2017.

Those interested in establishing future School of Business scholarships at Portland State University can learn more here. Or reach out directly to the School of Business Foundation. Future mentors are encouraged to click here and learn more about programs and opportunities.