Memorial service planned for WOU prof Hank Bersani

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

A Celebration of Life honoring Dr. Hank Bersani — the man who was struck and killed while bicycling on Highway 99W in Monmouth on March 31st — will be held tomorrow. Please see full details in the statement below:

MONMOUTH, Ore. — Western Oregon University (WOU) will hold a Celebration of Life honoring Dr. Hank Bersani on Saturday, April 7. The celebration will take place in the Werner University Center Pacific Room. Doors will open at 1 p.m. with a program beginning at 1:15 p.m. A light reception will follow at about 2:15 p.m. All are welcome and parking will be free in all campus parking lots.

Bersani died on Saturday, March 31 as a result of injuries sustained in a traffic accident. Bersani was a respected teacher, scholar and leader in the field of special education. He joined WOU in 1999 and over the course of his career he has made an enormous impact as an educator, advocate for people with special needs, and scholar. More details about Bersani’s career, contributions and accomplishments can be found here:

The celebration will feature aspects of Bersani’s life shared by selected individuals who knew him well. The celebration will offer an opportunity for those unable to attend the memorial and visitation events during the week to honor Bersani’s accomplishments. Memories, commemorative remarks and personal reflections can be shared at or in a memory book that will be available at the celebration.

For those wanting to make a contribution in Bersani’s honor, the WOU Foundation has established a Hank Bersani Student Scholarship Fund that will provide tuition support for students seeking to complete a teacher preparation program in special education at WOU. Gifts can be made electronically at For further information about donations and pledges, please contact Cara Groshong at or Tommy Love at Both may be reached by phone at 503-838-8281.

If you have a disability that may require some accommodation in order to participate in the Celebration of Life Honoring Dr. Hank Bersani, please notify the Office for Disability Services (503) 838-8250 V/TTY or e-mail at least 72 hours in advance.

Collision on 99W outside Monmouth claims life of WOU professor – UPDATED

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

Hank Bersani was 61 years old.
(Photo: Western Oregon University)

Monmouth resident and Western Oregon University professor, Hank Bersani, died Saturday morning when he was struck from behind while bicycling on Highway 99W.

According to the Oregon State Police, Bersani, 61, was riding northbound and was hit by 68-year-old Marvin Ford who was operating his Dodge Dakota pickup truck in the same direction. Here’s how the OSP described what happened:

“… a northbound bicyclist moved from the shoulder into the northbound lane in front of the pickup. Ford veered left in an attempt to avoid the bicyclist but the right front of the pickup struck the bicycle from behind. The bicyclist… was ejected from his road bike and came to rest near the center of the highway.”

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