Pacific University Remembers Oregon Gov. Victor G. Atiyeh (1923 - 2014)

Pacific University mourns the loss of Oregon Gov. Victor G. Atiyeh, a longtime friend of the institution, recipient of an honorary degree and member of the university's Board of Trustees. Gov. Atiyeh started his political life locally in 1959 as a representative to the state legislature from Washington County. After six years in the House, he represented the county as a state senator through 1978. 

  • Oregon's 32nd Governor (1979-87)
  • Pacific University Service Award recipient (1979)
  • Pacific University Board of Trustees member (1987-95)
  • Pacific University Honorary Doctor of Letters degree recipient (1996) 

The Governor Victor Atiyeh Collection - Pacific University

On May 23, 2011, Gov. Atiyeh announced his intent to donate his personal collection of papers, memorabilia and other artifacts to Pacific University for preservation and public viewing. The collection opened to the public on Oct. 3, 2013 (see photos of special opening exhibit here) and resides at the university’s Forest Grove Campus library archives. It continues to be digitized for online accessibility, with many facets of the collection already available at

Statement from President Lesley Hallick

"Pacific University lost a great friend yesterday with the passing of Gov. Vic Atiyeh. As a legislator, governor, and later, as a member of our Board of Trustees, Gov. Atiyeh took a keen interest in higher education and Pacific University, in particular. We are very grateful for his contributions and honored to help preserve his legacy as custodians of his personal collection."

News Coverage

The Atiyeh Biography Project

Pacific University has been selected by the Governor to write and publish his official biography. This initiative ensures a well-researched and historically valuable biography is created of the Governor, to be authored by Pacific University faculty member and psephologist Jim Moore, director of the Tom McCall Center for Policy Innovation. Publication is planned for 2016.

Funding opportunities to honor Gov. Atiyeh's legacy

Pacific University is deeply honored by the Governor's generous selection of Pacific University for his official papers and personal archives and welcomes all who wish to contribute financially in his memory in the following ways: 

  • The Governor Atiyeh Endowment: With a fundraising goal of $250,000, the Governor Atiyeh Endowment encourages researchers to continue to explore and assess the era of Victor Atiyeh, aspects of international business and social and political events of the latter half of 20th century Oregon. Funding will support competitive fellowships open to scholars from around the world. 
  • Atiyeh Scholarship Endowment: The creation of an endowed scholarship fund provides Pacific University undergraduate students from a wide range of academic interests, including politics & government, business or Middle Eastern studies, with needed financial assistance and honors the Governor’s commitment to education. 
  • The Governor Victor Atiyeh Collection: Funding of the Atiyeh Collection allows all content donated by the Governor (papers, artifacts, speeches, historical documents, etc.) to be digitized and organized to archival standards making the collection open and accessible to all. Funding for the project supports the transfer of audio, video and print materials to digital formats, as well as the personnel needed to catalog and organize both the physical and digital collections.  
  • The Atiyeh Biography Project: Private funding is sought to conduct biographical research, interviews, publishing and distribution costs of this biography of the Governor. This book will be the first official biography of the Governor and his impact to Oregon and beyond. 

For more information on these and any other memorial gifts in honor of Governor Atiyeh, please call 503-352-2890 or

Jul. 21, 2014