One of Portland State’s top administrators leaves post and enters into retirement … again

Fly fishing, walks on the beach and exploring Vancouver Island with a loved one seems like a relaxing, if not ideal, retirement.

For Cathy Dyck, the former interim vice president for finance and administration and eight-year PSU employee, it might not be that easy to get away from her life as a working woman.

“I wish her the best in what I think is her third retirement,” said Mike Driscoll, vice provost of academic affairs and former coworker.

Dyck is excited about having the time off and relaxing in Parksville, a small town on Vancouver Island where she and her husband, Peter, will own a home.

“I owe it to my husband to spend some time with him,” she said.

She will not mind not having to think about her work at the university in the coming months when she visits her parents who live in England, but she knows she will miss it.

“People are what you will miss more,” she said. “Such a great group of people who are motivated.”

Dyck is looking into “new and exciting opportunities,” which include possibly getting involved as a bursar for a cruise line that takes students around the world, but is still exploring other options. Whatever it is, she will be missed at the university.

“Cathy stepped in at a critical time in the university,” Driscoll said. “She played a big part in taking us from where we were to where we are as a university. She has been a pleasure to work with.”

Dyck’s life, as she described it herself, is very similar to that of PSU and its students.

While working full-time, living in three countries, having two children and transferring back and forth between the University of Nebraska, the University of Maryland and Germany, Dyck received her first university degree after 10 years of schooling and being an older than average student.

Though consuming at times, her hard work and perseverance have paid off. Dyck has held jobs with the federal government, High Tech, and has even worked as a geotech engineer in Alaska, playing a part in the construction of the Alaska pipeline, of which she still has a piece.

Her 13 years of work in higher education are some of her most notable. Having spent three and a half years working at Whitworth College, two years at University of Alaska, and eight years total at PSU, Dyck has been dedicated to improving education.

Even while working on a nearly incalculable number of committees and projects, Dyck was able to work towards her master’s degree in public administration, which she received from PSU in 2002.

As the first member of her family to have a college degree, Dyck has not only improved her life, but also this university, where her touch is evident in nearly every corner.

The plaques and certificates that scatter the tables and walls of her office are the evidence of her hard work and perseverance. Even while developing the campus with the PSU Foundation on projects such as the Broadway Housing project, the completions of Epler Hall and the Double Tree Hotel and continuing work on the construction of the new rec center, Dyck committed time to the development of Portland itself.

She has worked on Senate bills, and on the boards of directors for the streetcar and Portland Teachers Credit Union, among many others.

What brings Dyck joy now is to see how the perception of Portland State has changed along with the university itself.

“When I tell people I work at PSU, now they say, ‘Oh that’s great!'” she said. “It gets more respect.”

Dyck will be working full-time until this coming Friday, then dropping down to part-time until she leaves the university in late January.

She will be taking the time off so she can have more time to start packing up for her move to Canada, but her daughter would hardly call it time off.

“My daughter says that 40 hours a week is part-time for me,” she said with a smile.

Cathy will be dearly missed by many members of this university.

“I remember one of the first things she said to me was, ‘What can we do to make you a success in this job?'” said Lisa Herman, administrative assistant of finance and administration. “I can’t tell you how much I appreciated her concern and goodwill. I will miss her very, very much.”

Craig Haynes, a student who works with Dyck in the department, felt similarly, adding that Dyck is a leader among leaders, giving you her undivided attention, always with a smile on her face.

Dyck could only thank the people that have helped her develop the university into what it is, and wish them the best, such as Driscoll, President Bernstine, Roy Cook and Jay Kenton.

“I’ve loved it here,” she said. “Everybody here works very hard and long hours. PSU has come a long way since I first came.”