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Board of Trustees committee recommends Percy for president

A year after taking on the role of Portland State’s acting president, and later interim president, Stephen Percy may be appointed president—no preceding title required. 


The Executive and Audit Committee of the Board of Trustees announced on May 11 its recommendation to appoint Percy as the president of PSU, which will later be brought to the full board. The decision was made at a private meeting the previous week. 


“In the last 12 months, a series of events have occurred that would test any leader,” committee chair Greg Hinckley and vice chair Margaret Kirkpatrick stated in an email announcement. “Dr. Percy has shown strong leadership in response…especially in recent months with the impact on the university from the COVID-19 pandemic. As the members of the Board’s Executive & Audit Committee reviewed his performance as interim president over the past year, we saw that Dr. Percy has done an admirable job in leading the university during a difficult time in its history.”


Percy was first named as acting president on May 10, 2019, following the resignation of former PSU President Rahmat Shoureshi. He was officially appointed to the position at the following BOT meeting on May 13 by a unanimous vote. Prior to accepting the position, Percy was the dean of the College of Urban and Public Affairs. 


A committee was formed to search for an interim president. At the May 13 meeting, Percy was unanimously appointed to the position, and would remain as interim president until a permanent president could be found. 


The BOT originally released an update on the presidential search in October 2019, deferring further discussion on the subject until spring 2020. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has complicated things. 


Typically, the search for a new president comes with the creation of a presidential search committee, consisting of representatives from the PSU community and at least one other president of an Oregon public university, except in the case of an interim or acting president, in which the search committee is not required. 


However, according to the BOT’s bylaws, the BOT—along with the governor or a stand-in appointed by the governor—always has the authority to appoint the president, and may do so directly. 


“The selection of a university president is the most consequential decision that our board can make,” Hinckley and Kirkpatrick stated. 

If appointed, Percy would serve as president for a three-year term, unless the term was otherwise reduced or extended. The deciding vote by the full board will take place at an upcoming meeting, with an undetermined date and time. The BOT has created an online portal asking for comments and feedback from the PSU community.