Portland State has received a gift of $100,000 for the creation of a new professorship named The James DePreist Visiting Professorship in Ethnic Art. The gift comes from the epitome of Portland art patrons, Harold and Arlene Schnitzer. In addition to the initial gift, Arlene Schnitzer has committed herself to raise an additional $400,000. This, along with the $1.2 million the university has promised to raise, will fund the professorship in perpetuity.
Named after Oregon Symphony laureate music director and former music director James DePreist, the professorship will allow a more comprehensive instructional level and outreach program. Robert Sylvester, dean of the PSU School of Fine and Performing Arts, said, “Jimmy is a mentor and a teacher, and it is fitting that his professorship be in his name … As an African American arts leader, he has demonstrated a commitment to education and to serving under-represented populations for all of the arts.”
The first professor selected to fill this position is Isaka Shamsud-Din who currently holds the position of assistant professor of arts at PSU. Shamsud-Din is a noted muralist and painter whose works are currently part of the permanent collections at the Portland Art Museum, PSU, the Visual Chronicle of Portland, Kaiser Permanente and others.