News Briefs

Portland State named “Best in the West”

For the second year in a row, The Princeton Review recognized Portland State for being one of the best colleges on the west coast in its “Best Regional Colleges” list.

Portland State named “Best in the West”

For the second year in a row, The Princeton Review recognized Portland State for being one of the best colleges on the west coast in its “Best Regional Colleges” list.

The list—which includes Reed College, Lewis & Clark College and Oregon State University—identifies the best institutions throughout each of the four regions in the U.S., 120 of which are western institutions.

“We chose Portland State University and the other terrific schools we recommended as our ‘regional best’ colleges primarily for their excellent academic programs,” said Robert Franek, The Princeton Review’s vice-president of publishing, in a news release.

According to Franek, the colleges featured in the list were chosen based on the institutional data collected by The Princeton Review, the company’s visits to each school, information from college counselors and advisers and The Princeton Review’s staff opinions.

“We also take into account what students at the schools reported to us about their campus experiences…on our 80-question student survey for this project,” he said.

In the survey, students were asked to rate their schools on issues such as professor accessibility, the quality of the food on campus, the student body and the overall campus life, according the press release.

One student in the survey described PSU as being a lively institution that is very connected to the city and its region. In addition, the student said that PSU is an “ideal school to complete an educational program while pursuing a career and life,” according to the press release.

The student also praised PSU for its faculty, referring to its professors as “concerned, engaged and easy to meet with.”

For more information about The Princeton Review and the “Best Regional Colleges” list, visit

Portland State hires new chief diversity officer

After several months of searching for an individual to fill the position, Jilma Meneses has been hired at Portland State’s first chief diversity officer. Her first day will be Sept. 1.

The position was designed primarily to guide the university’s diversity agenda and ensure that minority faculty and staff are represented. As CDO, Meneses will also support several diversity-related programs at PSU, including the Office of Diversity and Equity and the Office of Affirmative Action, according to a press release.

“We want diversity to get bumped up a bit in our DNA,” said Chip Lazenby, a PSU General Council member, told the Vanguard in May. Lazenby was also the chair of the committee to hire the new CDO.

“If you have a diverse faculty and staff, then students feel more secure on campus,” he said.

According to the press release, Meneses plans to engage the community and to promote awareness within minority groups about higher education’s ability to break cycles of poverty and discrimination.

“We created this new position,” said PSU President Wim Wiewel in a press release, “because as a society and an institution we all still have much to learn about how we practice and live diversity. Through her professional as well as her personal experiences, Jilma can lead us in this shared learning process.”

Meneses has worked for Oregon Health & Science University for over 10 years, and is currently its director of risk management. She is also the founder and current executive officer of Our Family Adoptions, a humanitarian aid organization that provides resources to orphans in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and is the first in the U.S. to partner with the DRC to process adoptions of orphaned Congolese children, according to a press release.

Portland State professor emeritus receives honorary award

Gertrude F. Rempfer, a professor emeritus at Portland State, received an honorary award last Monday, Aug. 2 by the Microscopy Society of America. Rempfer, 98, was one of the early pioneers in electron microscopy and is still active in her laboratory at PSU.

The award was given out during the presidential session of MSA’s conference,
“Microscopy and Microanalysis 2010,” in the ballroom of the Oregon Convention
Center.  According to Randy Smith, a graduate student in the Department of Physics at PSU, Rempfer was given a standing ovation by a thousand-plus attendees.

Afterwards, family, friends and former students, some of whom traveled from as far as Canada, were invited to a reception, Smith said.

“Gert is a vital part of PSU’s research community and a trusted and excellent teacher,” he said. “Her laboratory was noted for its open doors and friendly atmosphere. The sign over the door, ‘Electron Optics Spoken Here,’ has special meaning to all who ventured there.”

According to the Department of Physics, she is known for her research in the areas of photoelectron microscopy, low-energy reflection electron microscopy and abberation correction.

Rempfer is also the only woman to have received the Distinguished Scientist Award from the MSA, which she won in 1990.