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APLU Names Portland State University 2016 C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award Winner

November 13, 2016

Austin, TX – In recognition of extraordinary community outreach, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) today named Portland State University the winner of the 2016 C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award during a ceremony at the group’s annual meeting in Austin, Texas.

“Community engagement is at the very heart of public universities’ missions,” said APLU President Peter McPherson. “Portland State has established itself as a key driver of progress in the Portland area through its partnership with the City of Portland. We applaud their exceptional community engagement efforts, which serve as a model for institutions across the country.”

Since 2006, APLU and the Engagement Scholarship Consortium, with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, have partnered to honor the engagement, scholarship, and partnerships of four-year public universities. The award recognizes programs that demonstrate how colleges and universities have redesigned their learning, discovery, and engagement missions to become even more involved with their communities. The national award is named for C. Peter Magrath, APLU president from 1992 to 2005. As the 2016 winner of the C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award, Portland State University will receive a sculpture and a $20,000 prize to support its community engagement efforts. 

Portland State University and the City of Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability have committed to a multi-faceted partnership that engages faculty and students from a variety of disciplines in education, research and service. The partnership supports the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability’s mission to “develop creative and practical solutions that enhance Portland’s livability, preserve distinctive places, and help plan for a resilient future.” For more than 25 years, Portland State and Bureau of Planning and Sustainability have engaged in this reciprocal relationship.

So far, the partnership has yielded:

  • Collections of longitudinal data that shape citywide waste management policy;
  • Climate change research and education that informs the regions’ Climate Action Plan;
  • Planning and development activities that promote an “Age Friendly City” agenda;
  • “Smart Cities” research and development focused on transit access and livability issues; and,
  • Placement of Portland State capstone students and interns in support of neighborhood-level activities which enhance livability for residents.

The partnership has garnered national and international recognition and support. For example, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability’s innovative waste management practices are frequently cited as national best practices and the “Smart Cities” work has generated a $50 million request for proposal from the U.S. Department of Transportation. If funded, this grant would make Portland a test case for how smart urban transportation systems can reduce carbon emissions and improve equity.

Every facet of the partnership supports the Portland State mission by connecting faculty and students with the larger community in engaged scholarship that leads to applied learning. The partnership also embodies Portland State’s motto “Let Knowledge Serve the City” while exemplifying the unique value of a Portland State education.

In June, Portland State was named one of four regional winners of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Engagement Scholarship Award.  Those regional winners automatically become finalists for the national Magrath Award. The other regional winners of the Kellogg Award were East Carolina University, Pennsylvania State University, and Purdue University. All three W.K. Kellogg Award winners each received $5,000.

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