Philanthropist and dedicated volunteer to Portland State, Mark Rosenbaum has been awarded the President’s Medal. This prestigious honor, which President Wim Wiewel has awarded only four times, was announced at a recent PSU Foundation and University Trustees’ dinner.
“Mark is a visionary whose passion for [PSU] is infectious and inspiring,” Wiewel said. “His legacy of giving continues to have a profound impact on the lives of our students and
vibrancy of our community and for that we are truly grateful.”
PSU’s President’s Medal was first created in 1976.
“The general objective might have changed over time, but at the end of the day the goal has always been to [acknowledge] those key individuals who have provided volunteer service and philanthropic service to really move PSU forward,” said Sara Case, director of Stewardship and Communications at the PSU Foundation.
During Rosenbaum’s tenure with the PSU Foundation, Case said he “was incredibly involved.” She explained that he was integral in moving the fundraising arm of the university under the foundation’s umbrella.
“He has done huge amounts over the last two years as board chair in building those relationships with the university and really helping as we’ve grown on our philanthropic side,” Case said.
Mark Rosenbaum, president of Rosenbaum Financial and immediate past board chair of the PSU Foundation, works at his business an average of 40 hours a week, plus he gives an average of 20 hours a week in volunteer and philanthropic work.
“My family has been involved in community service since they immigrated to Portland from Berlin and Vienna in the late 1930s,” Rosenbaum said. “I grew up watching my father and mother deeply involved in the community. I began doing the same thing ever since college. It becomes part of your approach to the world that part and parcel of being engaged and employed is giving back to the community.”
First involved in the PSU Foundation in 2009, Rosenbaum increased the foundation’s fund raising “from about $12 million annually to $42 million in 2014,” Case said. “Those are donors making gifts to the university through the foundation.”
Prior to serving on the PSU Foundation board Rosenbaum served as chair of the Portland Development Commission. When asked by Ken Thrasher and Tom Fink if he’d consider coming to the PSU board, Rosenbaum didn’t hesitate.
“My time at PDC reinforced the fact that PSU is, in my mind, one of three critical factors to our region’s growth and to our city’s success,” Rosenbaum said. “It’s an under acknowledged asset that we have, and the one that I think can do the most good. We all know that a college degree can catapult you into economic security if you’re coming from a background of need. It’s a terrific way to combat inter-generational poverty and create success for families for generations to come.”
Now that he’s a past board chair of the PSU Foundation, Rosenbaum will help with the transition of the current chair, Kim Cooper.
“[Rosenbaum] is currently on the College Affordability and Success Coalition, which was a product of the business community coming together with PSU after PSU decided not to pursue a ballot measure,” Case added.
At the recent PSU Foundation and University Trustees’ dinner Rosenbaum was the only one who received Wiewel’s President’s Medal. But, Rosenbaum is avid in his praise of others.
“My service is not exceptional when it comes to board service at PSU,” Rosenbaum said. “If you look at the bios of this year’s Simon Benson honorees: Tom Fink and Karen Brown Wilson or you look at our current and past trustees for the foundation or the university you will be so impressed with the breadth of their community involvement and commitment to PSU. There are a large number of foundation and university board members who care passionately, and many of them have not been PSU students.”
Rosenbaum has been awarded many honors and accolades through his business, Rosenbaum Financial, Inc., including the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors’ 2015 Senior Agent of the Year Award. He is a Life and Qualifying Member of the Million Dollar Round Table and a member of the prestigious Top of the Table, a forum of the world’s best life insurance and financial service professionals.
“You get more back by being involved than you give, consistently,” Rosenbaum said. “This idea of service is something that each of our students should keep in the back of their mind. Getting engaged is making a difference and understanding how much of a difference you can have is so impacting. It transfers into your business life, your family life. I think we are immensely blessed to live and work in Portland because you can get involved and have some kind of an impact.”