Between 1958 and 1979, Portland State University hosted over two hundred speeches, interviews, panel discussions, and readings by scholars, activists, politicians, authors, artists, and community members. Many of these events featured prominent public figures who were invited to campus by academic departments, university administration, or interested students. Portland State was a campaign stop for Presidential and Congressional candidates in the late sixties and early seventies, a focus of urban development in Portland, and fertile ground for conversations on politics, social justice, science and technology, the arts, and the future. The recordings in this collection reveal an era of vital dialogue and debate supported by the university and its community.

The original recordings of these events were captured on reel-to-reel tapes by Portland State audio-visual technicians. For a time, the tapes were available as a library resource, but after reel-to-reel technology was superseded the collection fell out of use and was not included when the library catalog went online. The tapes spent years in storage until their rediscovery by PSU’s University Archivist. With the generous support of the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Library Services and Technology Act, new digital transfers of the original reel-to-reel audio recordings are now available to the public in the Oregon Public Speakers Collection.

Listen to a selection of excerpts from the collection on the Portland State YouTube channel:

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Submissions from 1979


"Energy Resources", Harrison Scott Brown


"Food and Population", Harrison Scott Brown

"Carnival in Romans (Lecture 2)", Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie

"The techniques of total history (Lecture 1)", Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie


"Lessons From the Landscape: Non-American City Building", Christopher L. Salter


"The Urban Enigma: America's Urban Alternatives", Christopher L. Salter


"SIDS: Current Areas of Interest: Apnea, Monitors, and the High-Risk Infant", Alfred Steinschneider

"Myth of the River Kwai", Ian P. Watts

Submissions from 1978


"Environmental Simulation and Long-Term Planning", Michael A. Arbib

"Participation and alienation in large democracies", Michael A. Arbib

"Space settlements", John Billingham

"Ecosystems", William E. Cooper


"Toxic Chemicals in the Environment", William E. Cooper

"Role of Religion and Community Values (Session 2)", L. Fischer Hines, Whitney Bates, Charles Jordan, Doris Ellis, and Steve Snyder

"Role of Religion and Community Values (Session 1)", John Jackson, Dee Anne Westbrook, Byron Haines, Edsel Goldson, and Bernard Devers


"Is Human Understanding Finite?", Peter Brian Medawar

"The story of tumor immunity", Peter Brian Medawar


"Needed Social Innovations (Lecture 2)", John Rader Platt


"Rates of Change (Lecture 1)", John Rader Platt


"The New Kingdom: The Wealth of Empire (Egypt of the Pharaohs)", Cynthia May Sheikholeslami


"The Old Kingdom: The Age of the Pyramids", Cynthia May Sheikholeslami

Submissions from 1977

"Address to faculty and students", Timothy Francis Leary


"Minority Employment in Mass Media", Portland State University, Marky Azul, Tana Lane, Alan K. Ota, and Chuck Strutter


"Women in Science Career Workshop: Panel Discussion", Portland State University, Nona Glazer, Tony Oliver, Dell Rhodes, Lolita Carter, and Frances Storrs


"Minority and the Media Workshop", Portland State University, Wendy Gordon, John Gosselin, and Marilyn James


"Effects of TV on Black Children", Portland State University, Patrick Grant, and Linda Torrence

"How to change the media", Portland State University, Bill Hilliard, Clarence McKee, and Marcus Garvey Wilcher

Submissions from 1976

"Educating today's children: focus on early childhood. Appropriate curriculum for early childhood", David Elkind


Panel Discussion on Early Childhood Education, David Elkind, Alta Hunter, Helen Hartness, and Dennis Millholm


"The Call for a New International Economic Order, Part 2", Jeffrey Garten


"The Call for a New International Economic Order, Part 1", Joaquin González and Ruth Hinerfield


"Biological Determinism as a Social Weapon", Richard C. Lewontin

"Nuclear power: its role in our future", Betsy MacInness

"The concept of the "right of revolution" in the United States in historical perspective; from the Puritans to the present", Thomas Pressly

Submissions from 1975


"Large Systems", Richard Ernest Bellman


"Dedication: Frederic Littman sculpture 'Farewell to Orpheus'", Joseph C. Blumel

"Land-use planning: alternatives for the future", Ernest Bonner, John Gustafson, Lawrence Rice, and Nohad A. Toulan

"Mental Health Seminar", Dick Bose, Nancy Adams, and Babe Wilson


"A Philosophy for Complexity", Charles West Churchman


"The Search for Extra-Terrestrial Life", Donald L. DeVincenzi


"The ORE Plan: a practical application of the systems approach to solid waste management in Oregon", Richard Duncan


"Relations of Institutions to Minorities in Urban Areas", Samuel E. Kelly


"Education for Managing Complexity", Harold A. Linstone

"Memorial for Sam Wilderman", Portland State University

"Memorial gathering for Branford P. Millar", Portland State University


"Dedication of Branford Price Millar Library", Portland State University, Joseph C. Blumel, Andrew Millar, Theresa Millar, Gordon Hearn, Miles Romney, and Frank Rodgers

"Black Studies Center public dialogue. Pt. 1", Portland State University, Maynard Jackson, William M. Harris, Charles Jordan, Clara Peoples, and Rosemary Allen

"Black Studies Center public dialogue. Pt. 2", Portland State University, Toni Morrison, Primus St. John, John Callahan, Judy Callahan, and Lloyd Baker

"The curious behavior of complex systems: lessons from biology", Heinz von Foester

"Soviet intellectual dissent in the 70s", Fruim Yurevich

Submissions from 1974


"World Affairs Forum", Forest Amsden, Rebecca Bell, David Burrington, George Montgomery, and Carl Stern

"German writers in exile", Franz Langhammer

"Interpretation of the French resistance", Michael F. Reardon


"Public Evil and Private Responsibility", George Saslow

"Poetry reading", Gary Snyder

"Getting our language back", William Edgar Stafford

"American government and foreign affairs", Gregory Baker Wolfe


Commentary on the Film "The Sorrow and the Pity", David Wrench

Submissions from 1973


"Nkrumism: The Correct Ideology for the African Revolution", Stokely Carmichael

"Urban Containment: Policy for Willamette Valley in 1980", Grant Miller


"Land Use Planning versus Urban Chaos", Harvey S. Perloff

"The conduct of international affairs: 2000 A. D.", Portland State University and Elisabeth Mann Borgese

"America and the future (panel)", Portland State University, Andries Deinum, David Horowitz, Bill Hamilton, and Zoe Annette Arrington

"America: possibilities for transformation", Portland State University and Robert Jay Lifton

"America, 1984: which prejudices, passions and poverties?", Portland State University and Carl Rowan


"University and the Community: Playing for High Stakes", Emmanuel Rose

Submissions from 1972

"Jean Luc Godard discusses his approach to motion picture directing and answers questions from the audience", Jean Luc Godard

"The writer's craft", Jessica Mitford

"Limiting the power of the President", Wayne Lyman Morse

"PSU Environmental Education Center: Remarks and answers to questions from the audience", Elliot L. Richardson

Submissions from 1971

"The self and the U", Ramon Alcerro, William R. Anderson, and Gregory B. Wolfe

"Current issues in teaching English as a second language", Russell N. Campbell

"The development of social behavior in primates", Robert A. Hinde

"The Chinese domestic scene", William Hinton


"Transcendental Meditation: a Vision of Possibilities", Walter Koch

"The politics in 1972", Eugene J. McCarthy

"Opening remarks and responses to questions from the audience", Edmund S. Muskie

"Acadia for Moderns: The Fulfilling Environment - Is America possible? Lecture 3", Portland State University and René Dubos

"Discussion: Is America possible? Lecture 4", Portland State University, René Dubos, Harvey Wheeler, and Tom Wicker

"Perspectives on the Post-Industrial World - Is America Possible Lecture 2", Portland State University and Harvey Wheeler

"Is America possible? - Lecture 1", Portland State University and Tom Wicker

"China in crisis: the Chinese people and the communist political system", Robert A. Scalapino

"The People's Republic of China from a Trotskyist and Maoist point of view", Marv Treiger


"Romantic Love", Elaine Hatfield Walster

Submissions from 1970

"Who benefits from university recruiting?", Judd Blakely, Richard Morse, Dave Sidoor, Ralph Sterns, Ivan Suttles, and Ray Wolf

"Hopes and Hazards of the 70s: For American Secondary Education", Robert Blanchard


"Speech on Racial Equality in the United States", Julian Bond


"A Perspective on Black Culture Awareness", Johnetta Cole


"Women's Liberation Movement", Marlene Dixon

"North Vietnam and the war", Madeline Duckles

"Address to faculty and students on the Black American", Nathan Hare


"The University in American Power", Louis Kampf

"Address to faculty and students, discussing current political and social issues", George Stanley McGovern

"Mechanisms and image", Marvin Lee Minsky

"Two addresses to the faculty and students on the organizing of college students in order to bring about change", Ralph Nader

"A Teach-in opposing the Vietnam War", Portland State University


"Priorities in Teaching Pronunciation", Clifford Holmes Prator


"This is Me: Some Significant Learnings", Carl Ransom Rogers

"Remarks on the motion picture 'No blade of grass'", Cornel Wilde

"Answers to students' questions on military recruiting on campus and other matters affecting Portland State University", Gregory Baker Wolfe