Long-time Portland State University advocates Christine and David Vernier — founders of Vernier Software & Technology, a landmark Oregon company providing scientific hardware and software for education — have made a $4.5 million pledge to help renovate a key campus facility for undergraduate students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields.
"The Verniers' exciting gift is the latest expression of an extraordinary partnership," said Interim PSU President Stephen Percy. "As donors, board leaders and community advocates, Christine and Dave have long demonstrated a profound commitment to PSU students, to science education, and to a thriving and equitable Oregon. We cannot thank them enough for their friendship."
"Every great city needs a great university, and that's PSU," said Christine Vernier. "We believe that Portland State's mission to serve diverse students and its many important connections to our city will shape Oregon's future."
Pending public investment by the Oregon Legislature, the university's planned renovation of its undergraduate science building will provide flexible classrooms, accessible laboratories, and collaborative research and teaching spaces that are critical to multidisciplinary, interactive learning. It will also co-locate PSU's numerous programs supporting first-generation and historically underrepresented minority students in STEM and health-related fields. More than 80 percent of Portland State's STEM students remain in Oregon after they graduate.
"We are committed to building campus spaces that contribute positively to students' experience and success," said PSU Provost Susan Jeffords, leader of a university-wide effort to improve outcomes for every PSU student. "Exceptional facilities make an enormous difference to learning and belonging. We are so thankful to the Verniers for helping to make possible such important work."
"We know a culturally competent state-of-the-art science center will help students nurture their curiosity and develop the skills and confidence to empower discovery," said Todd Rosenstiel, associate dean for research and graduate programs in PSU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. "Diversity of thought and experience is the foundation of real innovation and discovery."
"We are thrilled that our contribution to new PSU classrooms and research spaces will improve the teaching and learning experience for instructors and students alike, and help give students from every background a great opportunity to learn science," said David Vernier.
PSU plans to name the renovated Science Building One in their honor: the Vernier Science Center.
"The new name is an apt expression of the Verniers' interests and philanthropic impact," said Sarah Schwarz, executive vice president of the PSU Foundation. "Because of them, doors of opportunity have been thrown open for talented students and faculty, and for all of Oregon."
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