Portland, OR. Portland State University (PSU) announced that Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger III, celebrated pilot and bestselling author of Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters, will be the keynote speaker for the 18th Annual Simon Benson Awards Dinner to be held on Thursday, November 9, 2017 at the Oregon Convention Center from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Named for one of Oregon’s first philanthropists, the Simon Benson Awards Dinner celebrates PSU alumni and philanthropists whose generosity and accomplishments have transformed the region. Since 1999, the gala has raised more than $10 million for PSU.

Sullenberger became internationally renowned on January 15, 2009 when he and his crew safely guided US Airways Flight 1549 to an emergency water landing in New York City’s Hudson River. The event inspired major motion picture Sully, directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Tom Hanks in the lead role as Sullenberger.

The 2017 Simon Benson Award for Alumni Achievement will be presented to Barre Stoll ’89, MSW ’92. A retired licensed clinical psychologist, Barre is a tireless community volunteer and has served on several boards in the region including St. Mary’s Home for Boys, Parents Anonymous of Oregon, Stand for Children and Waverly Children’s Home. Stoll currently serves on the PSU Foundation Board of Trustees as chair of the Philanthropy Committee.

Two Simon Benson Awards for Philanthropy will be presented this year, one of which will be given to honoree Dorothy Lemelson. Lemelson serves as chair of The Lemelson Foundation, continuing the direction she and her late husband, Jerome Lemelson, set to inspire future generations of inventors. The Lemelson Foundation has given over $2 million to various programs at Portland State University.

Philanthropy honoree Pete Nickerson is a global entrepreneur, former general manager of Nike in China and current chair of the PSU Board of Trustees. Nickerson has been a generous supporter and advocate for PSU for almost a decade.

The Simon Benson Awards Dinner is made possible by the generosity of its sponsors. Bank of America will be the presenting sponsor of the Simon Benson Awards Dinner for the sixth consecutive year. Bank of America’s substantial support of PSU’s signature event honors the spirit of giving and community involvement that defines Portland.

The Schlesinger Family Foundation, for the third consecutive year, will be the Keynote Speaker’s Reception Sponsor.

PSU Foundation Trustees Paul Schlesinger and Tom Fink ‘71 will serve as this year’s gala co-chairs, with PSU Trustee Peter W. Stott, H.D.’11 serving as honorary co-chair.

Money raised from the Simon Benson Awards Dinner benefit the Fund for PSU, providing support for promising and deserving students, exceptional faculty, and innovative programs at PSU, Oregon’s urban research university.

For information regarding sponsorships, contact Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations, Heather Eldon at (503) 725-8135 or [email protected]. Event details are available at www.psuf.org/simon-benson-awards-dinner.