My Oregon Story: Wim Wiewel

1000 Friends is excited to welcome Portland State University President Wim Wiewel to our 2013 McCall Society Speaker Series. We asked him to share his Oregon Story.  

Dr. Wiewel was hired by PSU in 2008. He holds degrees in sociology and urban planning from the University of Amsterdam and a PhD in sociology from Northwestern University. Prior to coming to Portland State, he was provost and senior vice president of Academic Affairs at the University of Baltimore, where he spearheaded a new emphasis on the university’s role in the city’s revitalization, and a dean at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He's researched and written extensively on the role of universities in urban economic development and planning.

We asked Dr. Wiewel to share some of his impressions, hopes, and plans for Portland State and Oregon.

1KF: What were your impressions of Portland and Oregon before coming here?

Wim Wiewel: Natural beauty, great planning, progressive, and, erroneously, "no doubt the state supports higher education really well, like California and Washington State." 

1KF: What have you enjoyed most about Portland and Oregon since coming to your position at PSU?
WW: The social-civic atmosphere. It's a really civilized place, where people care about the public good, and are courteous and civil to each other far more than in other cities. 
 
1KF: What has surprised you the most?
WW: Nobody quite foresaw the depth of the recession that started in 2008.  Combined with the already low funding for higher education, it's made life tougher than I expected.​
 
1KF: How do you think Portland State can play a role in improving Portland's livability and addressing its challenges?
WW: PSU is committed to helping make Portland an economically strong, culturally vibrant, socially just, and environmentally sustainable city. We do that through our teaching, research, and community partnerships, and will continue to grow all of that.
 
1KF: Where do you most like to escape on the weekends?
WW: We've got a place in Oceanside, just west of Tillamook, that we escape to as often as possible.  There's nothing like gathering your own mussels for lunch!
 
Wim Wiewel is the speaker at the final event in our 2013 McCall Society Speaker Series, October 16 at the Augen Gallery in NW Portland. Click here to learn more and RSVP--space is limited!