Who’s choosing the next PSU president?

The search is on for a candidate to permanently replace former Portland State President Daniel Bernstine, who left office in mid-June for an administrative position in Newtown, PA.

Editor’s note: Jim Francesconi’s name and another word were misspelled when this article was first published. The errors have since been corrected.

The search is on for a candidate to permanently replace former Portland State President Daniel Bernstine, who left office in mid-June for an administrative position in Newtown, PA.

Fifteen women and men, including chair Jim Francesconi, comprise the committee that will find a replacement. The candidate selection process for the new president is expected to take the rest of the year, according to Francesconi, also a member State Board of Higher Education.

Although multiple committee members said details of the selection process are strictly confidential, many said that they are looking forward to helping the school find a perfect candidate for its needs.

Nine of the committee members have strong ties to Portland State. Other committee members range from prominent business leaders to local educators.

Meet the committee:

Scott Dawson, dean of the PSU School of Business Administration

“PSU’s business school is very much in touch with what is going on with the Portland business community, and whoever comes here as president will certainly want to connect with that part of the community,” Dawson said.

He also said that after over 20 years at Portland State, he feels he’s got a long-time perspective on some of the issues the new president might face.

Dawson has taught graduate business courses at PSU in management, marketing and organization. He has consulted for national firms such as Costco, InFocus Systems, Wieden and Kennedy, May Company, and Tektronix. Dawson received a B.S. in business from the University of Oregon in 1978.

Sandra Freels, PSU professor and chair, Russian Studies

Sandra Freels joined the PSU faculty in 1979. Her areas of specialty are Russian language, literature and cultural history. She has twice received PSU’s Teaching and Learning with Technology Award, and, in 2003, students selected her for the CLAS John Eliot Allen Outstanding Teacher Award.

Rick Hawkins, president of the Board of Directors of the PSU Foundation

Now in his second term as president, Hawkins has been a member of the Foundation’s Board since 2001. Additionally, he has served three years as treasurer and chair of the Finance and Audit Committee and currently serves as a member of the Investment, Executive, Directors and Development Committees for the foundation.

Hawkins is a certified public accountant and partner at Geffen, Mesher & Company, P.C., a prominent local business and accounting firm, and has served as chair of the Oregon Entrepreneurs Forum. He is a member of the Trillium Family Services Foundation Board and Portland Chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth. Hawkins received a B.S. at Portland State.

Jun Jiao, PSU assistant professor of physics

Since joining PSU in 1999, Jiao has worked with Intel, FEI, LSI Logic, Sharp Labs of America and other local companies as well as regional research institutions such as Oregon State University and Washington State University. In 2004, Dr. Jiao received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. Over her career, she has brought in more than $5 million in funding from the National Science Foundation, the Petroleum Research Foundation, the Murdock Foundation, FEI Company and Intel Corporation. Jiao is currently a professor of physics and electrical and computer engineering.

Debbie Murdock, PSU assistant to president for strategic planning, public policy and government relations

“After working for two presidents, I feel I can bring the experience of 14 years at Portland State,” Murdock said.

After suffering a stroke last November, Murdock returned early this year to her position as government lobbyist for the school. Murdock plays an important and instrumental role securing funds from the state for PSU in conjunction with the Oregon University System.

Marc Nisenfeld, PSU assistant to the president for strategic planning, public policy and government relations, science support services personnel

Nisenfeld represents the roughly 450 classified workers of Portland State, as a bargaining delegate for the SEIU 503 Union.

“Of all the seven universities in Oregon,” said Nisenfeld, “the administration at PSU has the best relationship with its classified workers. I’m interested in preserving that relationship.” The local SEIU 503 Union covers janitors, clerks and non-managers, Nisenfeld said.

“[They are] the people who keep this school running,” he said.

Steve Reder, PSU professor and chair of Department of Applied Linguistics

Reder joined PSU in 1995 and has since focused on researching adult learning and English as a second language, partnering with Portland Community College and the Oregon State Library. He has garnered over $1 million in research funds.

Rudy Soto, president of the Associated Students of Portland State University (ASPSU)

“Hands down,” said Soto, “my responsibility is to represent the needs and the wants of the students in a president.”

“Portland State needs a president who has a vision for the future,” Soto said. “Someone who can build upon the success that Bernstine left behind.”

Soto also said he would be actively seeking students’ opinions as to what they would like to see in the new president. Students can stop by the ASPSU offices or contact him by phone or e-mail, Soto said.

Angela Wykoff, PSU Alumni Association

As president of the all-volunteer Board of Directors, Wykoff and her Board guide the Alumni Association’s operations and planning. Wykoff is a retired senior account executive, formerly with the Bonneville Power Administration, and a PSU graduate.

Preston Pulliams, president, Portland Community College

Preston Pulliams came to Portland Community College in 2004, after serving as vice chancellor to community colleges for the State University of New York. Pulliams is a community college graduate and has taught graduate and undergraduate classes in civics, psychology and geography and has researched the student experience significantly.

Steve Stadum, chief administrative officer, Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU)

Stadum has overseen all the administrative functions of OHSU since 2004, and had previously been general council and corporate secretary of OHSU’s board of directors.

Charles Wilhoite, commissioner, Portland Development Commission (PDC)

Currently serving his first term as a PDC commissioner, Wilhoite was appointed to the Commission by Mayor Tom Potter in 2006. Wilhoite is a managing director of Willamette Management Associates, a financial consulting firm.

Ed Ray, president, Oregon State University

Ed Ray has been the president of OSU since 2003. Since the start of his administration, he has taken over the Degree Partnership Program with 11 of the state’s community colleges, helping more students earn four-year degrees. The university’s research funding has grown to $209 million since Ray took office.

Danny Santos, policy advisor, Office of the Governor

Specializing in education and public policy, Santos graduated with a B.S. from Southern Oregon University in 1975 and got his law degree from Willamette University in 1985. He has worked for the governor’s office since Neil Goldschmidt’s administration in 1986.

Norman Daniels, former chairman, president and CEO of Joe’s (previously GI Joe’s)

Daniels is the largest shareholder of Joe’s, a Wilsonville-based sporting goods store with 24 locations in Washington and Oregon. Daniels remains the store chain’s CEO despite the recent sale of the business to a San Francisco-based investment firm.