2008 Commencement Address


Richard Pimentel



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Richard Pimentel received the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters and delivered the commencement address at Portland State University's 2008 Commencement ceremony, June 14, 2008.

PSU President Michael Reardon introduces Pimentel and presents him with the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters. PSU Provost Roy Koch gives closing remarks.


Richard Pimentel is a disability rights advocate, public speaker, and trainer who contributed to the passage and enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act. He has developed programs that have assisted numerous public and private employers in creating jobs and integrating people of all abilities into places of work.

Pimentel served in the Vietnam War and returned from the conflict nearly completely deaf. With support from a veterans' rehabilitation grant and from PSU Speech Communication faculty Ben Padrow, he attended Portland State University. His life's work began when, as a student at PSU, he developed a disability training program for supervisors as a sociology class project.

On the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 2020, Pimentel discussed his time at PSU and pandemic challenges: https://bit.ly/2K6ee3G

Pimentel was also interviewed by Portland State Magazine in 2021 about his experience as a Vietnam War veteran: https://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/36527

Original Format



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Pimentel Commencement Address 2008.pdf (63 kB)
Full text of address (.pdf file)

2008 Commencement Address