The ninth president of Portland State University, Rahmat Shoureshi, started work Monday Aug. 14. Formerly the interim president and provost at New York Institute of Technology, Shoureshi brings a background in engineering and entrepreneurship to Portland.
Here's what else you should know about Shoureshi, 64, as he begins his five-year contract.
He rose from humble beginnings to attend an elite university in Tehran
Shoureshi's parents couldn't read or write, he said in a 2010 commencement speech at the University of Denver, where Shoureshi served as dean of the college of engineering and computer science. But he got his undergraduate degree at the MIT of Iran, Sharif University of Technology (the same university that produced the only woman to win the prestigious Fields Medal for math). Shoureshi then got his MA and PhD in mechanical engineering from the actual MIT.
He holds nine U.S. patents
Two of the patents relate to what Shoureshi calls a "brain imaging system for methods of direct prosthesis control." He also holds a patent on a shoe insole that allows diabetic patients to monitor the temperature of their feet. That helps them know when they need to rest to prevent ulcers, which can lead to amputation if untreated.
He's a big believer in wearable technology
Shoureshi is currently working on a project on "smart wearable technology for enhanced vision and mobility." He wrote about that in an op-ed published widely in niche journals and small newspapers. "For the more than 6 million seniors who suffer from vision loss, mobility is often a nightmare," he wrote last year. "Sensors can change that. While canes can help the visually impaired detect obstacles on the ground, they can't tell users which way to face or when to turn."
Shoureshi is getting an 11 percent raise over the previous PSU president
PSU and its foundation will pay Shoureshi $599,988 in base and supplemental salary and annual deferred compensation. His predecessor, Wim Wiewel, earned $540,000 total. The latest tax returns from New York Institute of Technology don't list Shoureshi's salary as interim president, but he earned $404,091 as provost and vice president of academic affairs in 2014, tax returns show.
PSU will pay Shoureshi additional allowances and bonuses
PSU put the Dunthorpe home university presidents used since 1969 on the market for $2 million, the Portland Business Journal reported in May. So Shoureshi will get a $6,000 per month housing allowance. He'll also get a $1,000 a month car allowance; $25,000 in moving expenses and membership at two social clubs to facilitate networking and fundraising. PSU expects Shoureshi to raise $300 million by 2021. If he does, he'll earn a $140,000 bonus from the school's foundation.