Biography of Dr. Patricia Green Swenson – KBPS Director forums forums History Biography of Dr. Patricia Green Swenson – KBPS Director

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    Today October 3, 1916 Patricia Louise “Pat” Green was born in Seattle, Washington to Zella Florence Victoria (Crosby) & Stephen Harvey Green. Her mother was born in Uxbridge, Ontario, Canada in 1877 & father born in London, England, April 11, 1875. Stephen & Zella were married August 22, 1898 in Uxbridge, Ontario, a community in the greater Toronto area. Patricia had no brothers or sisters. By 1900 the Green’s had moved to the United States and were living in Hammond, Indiana.

    By 1910 the Green’s had moved to Birmingham, Alabama. By 1916 the Green family had moved to Seattle, Washington. By 1934 the family had moved to Bellingham where Patricia’s father was a Field Engineer for the Washington State Division of Mines & Mining. He would later author four books, two of which were on mining under the name Stephen H. Green, one of which was titled “Coal and Coal Mining In Washington” copyright 1943.

    In Fall 1937 Patricia, age 21, began as a freshman at Western Washington College of Education in Bellingham. On February 11, 1938 it was reported that Patricia Green was practicing acting for the college play “Julius Caesar.” Pat was playing the part of Calpurnia, wife of Caesar. The play was scheduled to be seen on February 24, 25 & 26, 1938.

    By mid 1940 Patricia was listed as a teacher. Most likely a substitute, since Pat was in college and living with her parents at: 815 16th St. in Bellingham. In Spring 1941 Patricia L. Green earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Western Washington University of Education. On January 17, 1943 Pat’s mother Zella Florence Victoria Green died at age 65 in Bellingham and was buried at Bayview Cemetery.

    In 1946 Patricia now in New York was a teacher while working towards her Master of Arts & Doctor degree’s at Columbia University. Portland Public School Superintendent, Dr. Willard Benjamin Spalding recruited her as a grade school teacher in Portland. In September 1946 Miss Patricia Green began working at Rigler Grade School.

    On June 17, 1947 it was announced Mary Elizabeth Gilmore had resigned as Assistant Supervisor and Program Director of KBPS, having served since 1941. Patricia L. Green was named as her predecessor. Mrs. Gilmore became President of the Northwest Association for Education by Radio, as well as a speech teacher at Girls’ Polytechnic & Benson Polytechnic.

    By October 1947 Miss Green had added to her titles as Chairman of The Teachers’ Radio Committee for 1947-48. Mrs. Gilmore had been Chairman, 1946-47. By March 1948 Patricia Green had been elevated to Assistant Supervisor of Radio for Portland Public Schools, as well as KBPS Production and Director.

    On September 17, 1951 it was reported Pat Green was back from a sabbatical spent at New York University. “A couple hours more and she’ll be the only educational Station Manager in the Country with a doctorate degree.” Also reported, Station Manager’s in New York have written and they “regard her as the best in her line in the Country.”

    On May 29, 1953 Community Television, Inc., charter member, Patricia Green, drafted a document to the FCC concerning reserving channel 10 Portland and channel 7 Corvallis for educational use. Community Television, Inc., was a Portland promotional group who sought to bring educational television to Portland on channel 10 in the 1950’s.

    By April 1954 Patricia L. Green was given the additional title KBPS Station Manager. On April 29, 1954 Pat Green became a member of the Portland chapter of Theta Sigma Phi: The National Honor Society For Women In Journalism, founded in 1909 at the University of Washington, in Seattle.

    On August 20, 1955 Patricia Louise Green, age 39, married Daryl L. Swenson, 24, in Seattle, Wash. at Plymouth Church. Daryl was born in Portland January 9, 1931 and was living in Portland. The marriage was not announced in The Oregonian. It was recalled by several students Daryl was a 1948 Benson graduate. Confirmed, Daryl was part of the KBPS staff in 1948. He later worked as an engineer at KOIN-TV for 30 years. Daryl’s mother Edith M. Swenson had died September 9, 1949 and Daryl’s father Arthur F. Swenson died March 16, 1997. Pat described Daryl in 1958 as “6’4″, blonde, Swedish and a super fine cook.”

    In the December 1955 issue of “Chevrolet” magazine, KBPS was featured in a two-page pictorial of Patricia Green and students. On May 5, 1956 Patricia Green became President of the Junior Girls unit of the Veterans of Foreign Wars auxiliary. October 15, 1956 marked the change in print media of her name to: Patricia Green Swenson. In December 1956 Pat & Daryl were living in The Irvington Apts. at: 1729 N.E. 17th Ave.

    On February 20, 1957 it was announced Patricia Green Swenson had a new additional title as Production Manager of In-school Television Programs. On March 4, 1957 KGW-TV began the Monday program “New Horizons” 2:00pm to 2:30pm. A classroom teaching experiment with four teachers, aimed at elementary schools, covering four subjects: “Let’s Explore Science”, “Early Oregon From Potlach to Plow”, “Let’s Be Artists” & “Poetry Basket.” KGW-TV furnished 15 TV sets that were rotated through 60 schools. Patricia Green Swenson was “New Horizons” Producer. The program was seen through June 10th.

    In May 1957 Pat & Daryl moved to a duplex at: 2128 N.E. Weidler St. In the 1958 Portland Directory: Patricia was listed as living at The Irvington Apts. at: 1729 N.E. 17th Ave. & Daryl was listed in the duplex at: 2128 N.E. Weidler St. The Irvington Apts. information might have been out dated.

    On October 2, 1958 it was announced Patricia Green Swenson was the first Woman to receive a doctorate from the Department of Communications In Education at New York University. Pat was also the only Woman educational Station Manager in the Country to have such a degree. The final step for the “Doctor of Education Degree in Mass Communications” was a two hour oral examination of her thesis, done on the history of the development of education and broadcasting in Portland and the growth of KBPS.

    Dr. Swenson also mentioned that she felt strongly that “one of the key responsibilities of teachers and parents is to guide young people in their selection of viewing fare.” Her favorite quotation was from George Bernard Shaw, “Get what you want, or you will be forced to like what you get.” She felt it applied aptly to Radio and TV fare. When The Oregonian newspaper approached her for an interview about her life story, Pat said “It is the station which is important, not I.” It was said evidence of her devotion to the station was the license plate on her convertible which beard the numbers “1450” — the KBPS frequency.

    On May 16, 1959 it was announced Dr. Patricia Green Swenson as given the “Founders Day Award” by New York University, for achieving a place in the highest bracket of scholastic attainment. By November 1959 Dr. Swenson was Mass Media Chairman for the Portland Branch and Oregon Division of the American Association of University Women, (AAUW). On April 19, 1960 it was announced Patricia Green Swenson, KBPS Assistant Supervisor was now KBPS Supervisor, in addition to Director and Station Manager.

    In July 1961 Pat shortened her name: Patricia Green Swenson to Patricia Swenson, most likely because of confusion with Patricia Green, Associated Press, Fashion Writer, carried in The Oregonian. On April 23, 1962 KBPS presented at 2:00pm “Exploring” Scenic City of Portland with guides Art Kirkham & Patricia Swenson. 30 minutes. On May 31, 1962 KBPS broadcast at 11:00am & 2:00pm “Exploring” The Seattle World’s Fair with guides Art Kirkham & Patricia Swenson. 30 minutes.

    On February 8, 1966 the “Great Decisions” program began on KOIN Radio at 7:35pm Tuesdays. James Clarke was moderator with Bill Mears & Dr. Patricia Swenson. The eight week series was repeated on KBPS beginning Friday February 11, 1966 at 11:30am & 7:00pm. On July 22, 1967 Pat’s father Stephen Harvey Green died at age 92 in Rancho Cordova, CA. and was buried at Bayview Cemetery in Bellingham, WA.

    On July 27, 1967 it was announced Pat Swenson was chosen as a member of a panel of judges who selected one of the five winners in a Nationwide ITV Humanities Project competition. On February 20, 1968 Dr. Swenson was unanimously elected as a member of the Board of Directors for the Western Radio & Television Association.

    On November 8, 1968 Dr. Patricia Swenson became the first woman to receive the Oregon Association of Broadcasters Award for Long and Distinguished Service to Broadcasting. On November 15, 1968 it was announced Dr. Swenson was one of a group of Station Managers invited to the U.S. Department of State, by Dean Rusk for a foreign policy briefing on November 18th.

    On February 25, 1969 KBPS presented at 1:30pm “Exploring Scenic Oregon.” Guides Art Kirkham & Patricia Swenson take listeners to Crater Lake and The Oregon Caves area. On March 11, 1969 KBPS broadcast at 1:30pm “Exploring Scenic Oregon.” Art Kirkham & Patricia Swenson visit and discuss Malheur Lakes and Steens Mountain.

    On May 16, 1969 Dr. Patricia Swenson was a recipient of the Banner Award from Theta Sigma Phi. Pat had made a significant contribution to the field of communications. Dr. Swenson was also given the Edith Knight Hill Award for outstanding contribution to the state. In November 1970 Patricia Swenson was chosen to receive the Oregon Association of Broadcasters Citation of Excellence and Public Service.

    On January 22, 1972 it was announced Dr. Patricia Swenson was elected to a four year term in the Western Region, Executive Board of the National Association of Educational Broadcasters. It was said, all of other Station Managers elected were men. On January 18, 1973 it was announced Pat Swenson was appointed to a committee studying “Media: Issues In Communications” by the American Association of University Women (AAUW).

    On February 25, 1973 KBPS began a new program “The Seeing Sound.” Dr. Swenson had been asked to develop a program for blind and handicapped citizens in the community. On March 4, 1973 it was announced Dr. Patricia Swenson was one of five winners of Headliner Awards from Women In Communications, Inc. Pat won her award for outstanding service in Radio and instructional Television.

    On October 4, 1973 Patricia L. Swenson was given a Headler Award from Women In Communications, Inc. for overseeing KBPS writing, production and utilization of Radio & TV series on educational and commercial stations. On December 29, 1974 KBPS presented at 9:30am “Guest of The Week.” Governor, Tom McCall in conversation with Dr. Patricia Swenson, about memories of his eight years.

    On October 18, 1979 it was announced Dr. Swenson had just been re-elected to her third term on the Board of Directors of National Public Radio (NPR). On March 27, 1980 it was announced Dr. Patricia L. Swenson had been appointed to the Executive Board of Directors of National Public Radio, in Kansas City at the Public Radio Conference. This appointment would continue for a total of seven years on the NPR board.

    On January 24, 1983 Patricia’s husband Daryl L. Swenson died at age 51 of cancer in Portland. Mr. Swenson was cremated. On May 20, 1983 Daryl was buried at Bayview Cemetery in Bellingham, WA. On July 27, 1983 Dr. Swenson announced the new KBPS-FM could now be heard on the air testing with a simulcast of KBPS. Pat’s vision of building an FM station for the school district had been in the works for more than a year and would officially take to the air with a full schedule August 1, 1983.

    On October 30, 1985 it was announced Dr. Patricia Swenson was selected as one of three judges by the U.S. Air Force to judge its worldwide Radio and Television media competition. On April 23, 1992 dedication ceremonies for new 7,800-square-foot, two-story “KBPS Broadcast Learning Center” building took place. Dr. Swenson’s “long-held dream.” A foundation of volunteers and citizens following her leadership raised the dollars.

    On March 10, 1994 the Portland Public School budget ax hit KBPS, slicing $362,000. from its amount. KBPS-FM was not effected with the creation of the KBPS Public Radio Foundation, effective July 14, 1994. Later PIL sports coverage was eliminated from KBPS. Night’s were rented to Portland State University station KPSU beginning on October 1, 1994.

    Dr. Swenson who had never faced such drastic cuts in her 47 years as Director of the station, resigned to help enable KBPS to continue funding the necessary on-air staff. Pat continued working pro bono with the KBPS Public Radio Foundation as Co-Chairman of Development, fundraiser and grants writer and as KBPS Foundation Endowment Chairman.

    On March 23, 1998 KBPS began a week long 75th birthday celebration. Dr. Swenson chaired the research and planning for the on air and community event. KBPS marked its birthday with an open house, cake, a proclamation from Mayor Vera Katz and a reunion of former students.

    On January 5, 2010 Dr. Patricia Louise Swenson died at age 93 in Portland. At her request, there was no funeral. Her ashes were placed in the family plot in Bayview Cemetery, Bellingham, Wash.

    Through Pat’s estate, provisions were made for a gift of $100,000 to Western Washington University. The funds established the Dr. Patricia Louise Green Swenson Scholarship to support students with financial need. In addition the $10,000 Daryl and Patricia Swenson Scholarship for outstanding graduating Benson High seniors, was established.

    Dr. Swenson received many other honors: The Oregon Journal’s Woman of Achievement Citation. Professional broadcasting award plaques from the Consortium of Public Radio for Oregon. Additionally she served on the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s advisory Committee; Represented Public Radio in the United States at the International East-West Center Asian-American Women in Broadcasting Conference in Honolulu.

    Patricia belonged to: The Portland Art Museum, World Forestry Center, The Urban League, OMSI, The Oregon Zoo, Oregon History Center, The Portland Audubon Society and the Oregon Humane Society, where she served as a volunteer.

    Pete Schulberg said in 1994: “If there is anyone who is the soul and force behind KBPS, it’s Swenson. Through her gutsy stewardship for the better part of three decades, Swenson has maintained a high profile for the station within the district.”

    Special Thanks to Joel Miller & Steve Naganuma for their help to make this Radio/TV biography more complete.

    References: Benson High School Yearbooks, The Oregonian newspaper, Portland Directory & The Western Viking newspaper.


    Craig…great job putting this together.. She inspired 100’s, probably 1000’s of students over the years – Whether they stayed in Broadcasting or not, she made a big difference to many…

    Steve Naganuma

    Long-time KBPS staff members tell me Pat had a older Sister named Margaret. Margaret at one point worked in educational television in Oklahoma. Their Father was living with Margaret when he passed away in Rancho Cordova, CA. We think Margaret passed away in the late 70s or early 80s.

    Craig, great job researching this biography.


    Pat Swenson’s older sister, Margaret Beryl Green, died on Oct. 26, 1992, at age 89.


    Just spent over an hour trying to connect Margaret Beryl Green to her family. Couldn’t find a thing. Now I know why she wasn’t discovered during research.

    Steve Naganuma

    Dr. Swenson owned property on Orcas Island and would vacation there in the summer. Here is her obituary from the Island Sounder which states her fondness of boats and salt-water beaches in the San Juan Islands.

    Dr. Swenson had a house on Wasco street as long as I can remember. Many long-time KBPS staff members will remember delivering mail and station material to her house on days that she worked from home.

    Dr. Swenson was a very private person. Coincidentally, the 1947 and 1948 Benson Yearbooks are both missing from the Benson Library. Craig, I learned many new things about Dr. Swenson. Thanks for researching and posting.


    Here’s 1947 but good luck reading it: I couldn’t find 1948.


    We just need someone who is a subscriber to check it out.

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