PSU gets $5 million for Neuberger Hall renovation from biggest donor
http://www.oregonlive.com/education/ind ... uberg.html
Fariborz Maseeh already has his name on one building at Portland State University, and now the mechanical engineer, philanthropist and entrepreneur is donating millions to help the downtown campus transform another.
Maseeh, the founder and president of the Massiah Foundation, will give his alma mater $5 million to renovate Neuberger Hall. According to its website, the Massiah Foundation makes philanthropic investments in education, the arts and health-related causes.
PSU announced the gift at a news conference Thursday morning. The gift is the final piece needed to move forward with the $70 million project.
In an interview Wednesday, Maseeh said he was honored to help PSU renovate one of the most important buildings on campus. In the early 1980s, Maseeh took math classes there and eventually had an office on the third floor while working as a graduate student. He said the building needed repairs decades agp.
"It's a key building to the students, and it was really one of the very old and run-down buildings," Maseeh said.
Maseeh said he was also eager to donate because of the school's commitment to promoting science, technology and engineering on campus. The 58-year-old said PSU officials want to collaborate more with Oregon Health & Science University. They launched a joint School of Public Health in recent years.
He said the biomedical and bioengineering work being fostered by both institutions could make the city a hotbed for innovation. "That can all be good for Portland. A lot can come from it."
Neuberger Hall is a five-story bunker-like building with a windowless façade facing Southwest Broadway. The building is home to dozens of classrooms and administrative services and is one of the busiest buildings in the heart of campus.
School leaders have long sought to remodel the building, which was completed in 1969.
In 2015, the Legislature approved $60 million in state bonds for the project. Last month, philanthropist and real estate developer Jordan Schnitzer pledged $5 million to open a new art gallery there.
Maseeh received bachelor's and master's degrees from PSU before earning a doctorate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is the largest individual donor in PSU history, according to the school's foundation. His $18 million total includes an $8 million donation in 2004, which helped build the College of Engineering and Computer Science building that now bears his name.
The James F and Marion L Miller Foundation gave $25 million to the school in 2008.
PSU has experienced a building boom during outgoing President Wim Wiewel's nine-year tenure, building or renovating nine buildings. A tenth, a proposed $109 million cooperative building with Portland Community College, OHSU and the city of Portland, will receive some $51 million in state support this session.
Maseeh said he's been impressed by the progress made at and his predecessors. "The school is sometimes unrecognizable," he said.
Construction is expected to begin this fall and wrap up in 2019.
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