Portland, OR. Nearly 1,100 guests celebrated the 19th Annual Simon Benson Awards Dinner and official kick-off of the Campaign for PSU, a $300 million fundraising initiative to support Portland State. The benefit at the Convention Center on October 25th featured the Grammy Award winning music and thought provoking conversation of jazz artist and PSU alum Esperanza Spalding. (Photo credit, Tom Cook and Ed Keene Photography)

Laurie Lomax joins husband Neil Lomax onstage as he receives the 2018 Simon Benson Award for Alumni Achievement.

Mary Boyle shares a hug with PSU student Melissa Lamproe as she and husband Tim Boyle are honored with the 2018 Simon Benson Award for Philanthropy.

Esperanza Spalding talks about the power of education with her PSU mentor Darrell Grant during the evening’s Q&A session.

Chemistry student Trine Parsons “blows” the crowd away with her inspirational PSU story.

Named for one of Oregon’s first philanthropists, the Simon Benson Awards Dinner is an annual celebration of the transformational power of philanthropy at Portland State University and beyond.  

Proceeds from the Simon Benson Awards Dinner, Presented by Bank of America, support extraordinary PSU students, faculty and programs. Since 1999, the dinner has raised more than $11 million to transform teaching and learning for Oregon’s only urban research institution.