University of Portland

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This article is about the Catholic university in Portland. For the former Methodist institution in Portland, see Portland University.
University of Portland
University of Portland shield.png
Former names
Columbia University
Motto Veritas vos Liberabit (Latin)
Motto in English
The truth will set you free
Established 1901
Type Private
Affiliation Roman Catholic (Congregation of Holy Cross)
Endowment $140.2 million[1]
President Rev. Mark L. Poorman
Students 4,123 (Fall 2014)[2]
Undergraduates 3,654 (Fall 2014)[2]
Postgraduates 469 (Fall 2014)[2]
Location Portland, Oregon, U.S.
Coordinates: 45°34′21″N 122°43′38″W / 45.57250°N 122.72722°W / 45.57250; -122.72722
Campus Residential, 124 acres (0.50 km²)
Colors Purple & White          
Athletics NCAA Division IWest Coast Conference
Nickname Pilots
Mascot Wally Pilot
Affiliations ACCU
University Portland logo.png
Swan Island Basin and the city of Portland from bluff trail

The University of Portland (also referred to as UP) is a private Roman Catholic university located in Portland, Oregon, United States. It is affiliated with the Congregation of Holy Cross, which also founded UP's sister school the University of Notre Dame. Founded in 1901, UP has a student body of about 4,000 students. UP is ranked 8th in the west for Regional Universities in 2015 by U.S. News & World Report.[3]

The campus is located in the University Park neighborhood near St. Johns, on a bluff overlooking the Willamette River. With a college of arts and sciences; a graduate school; and schools of business, education, engineering, and nursing, it is the only comprehensive Catholic University in Oregon.[4] It is the largest corporation in North Portland and has an annual economic impact on Portland of some $170 million. More than 13,000 alumni live in the Portland metropolitan area.[4]


Waldschmidt Hall, formerly West Hall, at the University of Portland

The first institution located on Waud's Bluff was Portland University, which was established by the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1891. Amid financial setbacks following the Panic of 1893, Portland University vacated the Bluff Campus to hold classes from 1896 to 1897 in East Portland,[5][6] where it was joined temporarily by the recently insolvent College of Puget Sound.[7]

According to University of Portland tradition,[8] Archbishop Alexander Christie, the head of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon, saw a large building on the bluff from aboard a ship on the nearby Willamette River. He learned that it was called West Hall and had been unoccupied for several years since the closure of Portland University.

The Archdiocese purchased West Hall (renamed Waldschmidt Hall in 1992) and the surrounding campus with financial assistance from the Congregation of Holy Cross, and named the new institution Columbia University after the nearby Columbia River. The university opened its doors to 52 young men on September 5, 1901, with eight Roman Catholic priests from the local archdiocese serving as professors.[8] At the request of the archbishop, the Congregation of the Holy Cross assumed ownership of the university in 1902.[8]

After two decades, Columbia University achieved junior college status. In 1925, the university's College of Arts and Sciences was founded, and in 1929, a class of seven men were awarded the university's first bachelor's degrees.[8] In 1935, the school took on its present name.[9] The 1930s also saw the St. Vincent Hospital school incorporated to the University as the School of Nursing, and the creation of the School of Business.[8]

In 1948 the school of Engineering was founded, followed by the Graduate School in 1950 and the School of Education in 1962. University of Portland admitted women to all courses of study in 1951.[4] Prior to this transition, Marylhurst University had been the only Catholic institution of higher learning to serve the educational needs of Oregon women. The building housing the library was completed in 1957.[10] In 1967 ownership of the school was transferred from the Congregation of Holy Cross to a board of Regents.[8] Multnomah College became part of the University of Portland (UP) in 1969.


The University of Portland was ranked the 23rd top college in the United States by Payscale and CollegeNet's Social Mobility Index college rankings.[11] The University of Portland is ranked as the 8th best "Regional University" and 12th "Best Value School" in the West by U.S. News & World Report.[3] The University of Portland is also the top producer of Fulbright scholars in the entire nation among “master’s universities”.[12]


Admission to UP is rated as "more selective" by U.S. News & World Report.[13]

For fall 2014, UP received 11,099 freshmen applications; 6,986 were admitted (62.9%).[14] The average GPA of the enrolled freshmen was 3.63, while the middle 50% range of SAT scores were 540-660 for critical reading and 540-650 for math.[14] Of the 48% of enrolled freshmen submitting class rank, 35% were in the top tenth of their high school graduating class and 73% were in the top quarter.[14]


Main entrance to the university

UP has six Divisions of study: the College of Arts & Sciences, the Pamplin School of Business Administration, the School of Education, the School of Engineering, the School of Nursing, and the Graduate School. The most popular majors for undergraduates are Nursing, Biology, Marketing & Management, Finance, Elementary Education, Organizational Communication, Psychology, and Spanish.

College of Arts & Sciences[edit]

This is the liberal arts core of the university. The College of Arts and & Sciences has seventeen departments: Biology, Chemistry, Communication Studies, English, Environmental Science, International Languages & Cultures, History, Mathematics, Performing & Fine Arts, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Social & Behavioral Sciences, Social Work, Sociology, and Theology.

Several of the departments offer graduate programs in addition to their undergraduate majors, and these programs dual report to the Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and the Dean of the Graduate School. The Communication Studies department offers a M.A. in Communication and a M.S. in Management Communication. The Performing & Fine Arts department offers the M.F.A. in Directing. This program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Theatre.[15] The Theology department offers a three-year Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry. The M.A.P.M. program was started in 2000 in collaboration with Gonzaga University, but in 2010 the partnership ended and the University of Portland continues to offer the program independently.

Pamplin School of Business Administration[edit]

The Pamplin School of Business Administration is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business(AACSB) and offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees. Its undergraduate program ranked as among the "Best Undergraduate Business Programs" by U.S. News and its Part-Time MBA is ranked highly by U.S. News Best Grad School Rankings.

The undergraduate program offers a BA in Economics and a BBA in seven different areas: Accounting, Finance, Economics, Global Business, Marketing and Sustainability, Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management, and Operations and Technology Management.

At the graduate level the PSOBA offers a MS in Finance, a MS in Operations & Technology Management, a MBA, an Executive MBA in Nonprofit Administration, a technology entrepreneurship certificate, and a post-MBA certificate. The graduate degrees are accountable to both the Dean of the PSOBA and the Dean of the Graduate School. The MBA program is noted for its diversity within the context of Oregon. Among the five AACSB MBA programs in Oregon, Pamplin School of Business has the highest percentage of women, minorities, and international students.[16]

School of Education[edit]

The University of Portland School of Education is an undergraduate and graduate program which provides graduates with a teaching license in some, but not all U.S. states. The program is characterized by an emphasis on field experience, and inclusion, with first classroom placements beginning almost immediately. It received the 2002 Model of Excellence Award from the Association of Independent Colleges for Teacher Education (AILACTE).[17]

The PACE (Pacific Alliance for Catholic Education) program allows 15-25 teachers to earn a graduate degree during summer school, while gaining in-classroom teaching experience during the academic year at a Catholic school over a three-year period. PACE students live in community with other PACE students in Draper, Ogden, and Salt Lake City, Utah; Seattle, and Tri-Cities, Washington; Redding and Red Bluff, and Sacramento, California; Fairbanks, Alaska; and Portland, Oregon.

At the graduate level, the school of education offers a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree, a Master of Arts, a Master of Arts in Teaching, a Master of Education, and post-Master's certificate programs in neuroeducation, reading, special education, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), and educational administration.

Shiley School of Engineering[edit]

The school of engineering was founded in 1948[8] and grew substantially in 1969 when UP absorbed Multnomah College. Multnomah College had been established in 1897 as the Educational Department of the YMCA in downtown Portland, Oregon,[18] and in 1969 was the oldest fully accredited two-year college in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. Multnomah College was noted for its engineering program and as a result of the merger UP renamed its school the Multnomah School of Engineering. University of Portland's School of Engineering is a perennially top-40 school among the nation's bachelor's and master's degrees-granting institutions, according to U.S. News & World Report. In 2012, it ranked 35th. U.S. News.[17]

In 2007 the University of Portland was given a $12 million gift (the largest in UP's history at that time) toward the School of Engineering by Donald and Darlene Shiley of San Diego. Donald Shiley arrived at UP the year the school of engineering was founded. Graduating in 1951 with a bachelor's degree in general engineering, he would later invent a heart valve and various medical devices that have been credited with saving thousands of lives. Shiley Hall is now the largest building on the UP campus[19] and has won several awards for sustainable design and construction.[20][21] The Shileys later gave an additional $8 million gift to the engineering school, which was then renamed the Donald P. Shiley School of Engineering.[22]

The school offers accredited Bachelor of Science degrees in mechanical, civil, and electrical engineering, as well as a Bachelor of Science in computer science. A Master of Engineering degree, in collaboration with the Pamplin School of Business Administration, is offered at the graduate level.

School of Nursing[edit]

The school of nursing was established as the St. Vincent Hospital School of Nursing in 1892,[23] two years after the northwest region's first nurse training program was founded at nearby Good Samaritan Hospital.[24] Throughout the 20th century many nursing education programs relocated from hospitals to institutions of higher learning; the St. Vincent school became part of this national trend when it joined the University of Portland in 1934[25] and began granting a four-year degree in 1938.[23] Today most clinical practice still takes place at St. Vincent Hospital and other hospitals associated with Providence Health & Services, a not-for-profit Catholic health care ministry.

The School of Nursing awards the BS in Nursing baccalaureate degree and the MS in Nursing graduate degree. The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is a professional doctorate program initiated in 2008. The master's entry program (AEM-UP) enables individuals who possess a non-nursing bachelor's degree to enter nursing at the graduate level. In collaboration with practice partners, Clinical nurse leader Master of Science degree prepares generalists for leadership at the point of care. In 2007, the School of Nursing was ranked 72nd in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.[26] Also American Assembly for Men in Nursing named the University of Portland the nation’s Best Nursing School for Men.[17]

Graduate School[edit]

The Graduate School oversees the post-Bachelor's degree programs that are embedded within the College of Arts & Sciences and the four professional schools. The Dean of the Graduate School reports to the Provost and collaborates with the Deans of the various schools to ensure academic standards are enforced for their respective graduate-level courses of study.


Franz Hall

The University of Portland sits on top of Waud's Bluff overlooking the industrialized Swan Island and the Willamette River. The University is located in the University Park neighborhood of North Portland, a primarily residential area of the city. The university campus is bordered by Willamette Boulevard to the east, the Willamette River to the west and south and private residences to the north.

The campus itself is a traditional college campus with three main quads, East Quad, West Quad, and the Academic Quad. The main academic building on campus is Franz Hall, located at the center of the university across from the Chapel of Christ the Teacher, it houses the Pamplin School of Business and the School of Education. Other academic buildings include Buckley Center, Swindells Hall, Shiley Hall, Romanaggi Hall, Mago Hunt Center, and the Wilson W. Clark Memorial Library.

Residence halls[edit]

There are nine main residence halls on campus: Mehling Hall, Corrado Hall, Villa Maria, Shipstad Hall, Kenna Hall, Christie Hall, Haggerty Hall, Tyson Hall, and Fields and Schoenfeldt Hall. They are divided into three groups, with three each on the Westside Quad, Eastside Quad and Village Quad. Mehling, Corrado and Villa Maria are situated around the Westside Quad, and Shipstad, Kenna and Christie are situated around the Eastside Quad. The Village Quad comprises Fields & Schoenfeldt, Haggerty, and Tyson.

Christie Hall[edit]

Christie Hall

Christie Hall is named for Archbishop Alexander Christie, the University's founder. It was built in 1911 and remodeled in 1995. Christie Hall was the first residence hall on campus, and originally housed about 80 male students and a contingent of priests in "state-of-the art" rooms featuring electricity, steam heat, and hot and cold running water. Over the years, Christie has housed the campus library, a two-lane bowling alley, a gentlemen's smoking room, a darkroom, and classrooms. Today, the bowling alley is gone, but the building contains a modern surround-sound television lounge, a beautiful chapel, and a Muslim prayer room.[27]

Reserve Officers' Training Corps[edit]

The University of Portland currently host two detachments of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps: the Air Force Reserve Officer's Training Corps and the Army Reserve Officer's Training Corps.

The Air Force ROTC program at the University of Portland is one of the oldest programs on campus, established in 1951.[28] The AFROTC unit on the campus, known as Detachment 695, is also one of the largest in the country, with its membership numbering nearly 4% of the campus undergraduate student population. In 2004, Detachment 695 was recognized as the top large detachment in the nation, receiving AFROTC's prestigious Right of Line Award. In 2011, the detachment received recognition as the top unit of 34 in the AFROTC Northwest Region. In 2012, Detachment 695 again won AFROTC's Right of Line Award, this time as the best medium-sized detachment in the nation. The offices for Detachment 695 are located in the basement of Kenna Hall.

Since 1996, the university has hosted an Army ROTC program which has grown to include over 70 cadets and a cadre of seven faculty and staff.[29] Offices for the University of Portland Pilot Battalion of the Army ROTC are located in Villa Maria Hall.


Main article: Portland Pilots
The Chiles Center dome, home of Pilot basketball, which is now painted white

UP's NCAA soccer program became well known after Clive Charles, who started coaching the men's team in 1986, added the women's head coaching job in 1989, heading both teams until his death in 2003. The women's team won the NCAA Division I National Championship in 2002 and 2005, led both years by current Canadian international star Christine Sinclair. Four current US men's internationals, Conor Casey, Steve Cherundolo, Heath Pearce and Kasey Keller, also attended the University of Portland, as did longtime US women's internationals Shannon MacMillan and Tiffeny Milbrett and current women's international players Stephanie Lopez and Megan Rapinoe. After his death Charles was replaced by his assistant Bill Irwin. Home matches are played at 4,892-seat Merlo Field, part of the Clive Charles Soccer Complex[30] on campus. The University of Portland's soccer team is one of the oldest college programs in the U.S., going back to 1910, and was played as a club sport almost continually until 1977, when it gained full varsity status.

Beyond soccer, UP also boasts one of the nation's top NCAA Division I men's cross country teams. Coached by Rob Conner, the Pilots have won 31 straight West Coast Conference Championships, one of the longest active conference championship streaks in the NCAA. On the national level, UP has finished in the top ten at the NCAA Championships four times. In 2008, the Pilots placed 7th in the nation, matching their placing from 2001, also the highest finish ever for the team. Individually, Portland has had such standouts as Uli Steidl, John Moore, Michael Kilburg, and most notably, David Kinsella. In 2008, the same year as the 7th-place team finish, Kinsella ended up 4th at the NCAA nationals, marking the highest individual finish ever for a UP runner at a national championship.

Other intercollegiate sports at UP include basketball, baseball, volleyball, track and field, tennis, and rowing. In November 2010, the school announced it would add women's crew effective with the 2011-12 academic year, while dropping both men's and women's golf. While none of these teams have the standing of the soccer program, the men's cross country program has won 31 conference titles in a row and has come into its own nationally over the past few years. In November 2005, the University of Portland stood at 25th in Sports Illustrated's College All Sport rankings. UP's previously sponsored football program was disbanded in 1950 due to lack of funding.

Students participate in club level sports such as men's and women's lacrosse, ultimate frisbee, crew, and water polo, as well as a variety of intramural sports.

Expansion and development[edit]

The bell tower

The school is undergoing expansion and renovations for both its campus housing facilities, academic buildings, and recreation facilities. For housing, a new residence hall (Fields-Schoenfeldt) was completed for the 2009-2010 school year. The university also renovated the existing dining facility known as The Commons, which was renamed the Bauccio Commons in honor of alumnus Fedele Bauccio, who founded the Bon Appetit Management Company which provides food services to the campus.

In academics, the Engineering Building was renovated using a $12 million gift for its expansion and improvement from Donald and Darlene Shiley. Additionally, the university has completely renovated the Clark Library. Elsewhere, a bell tower located adjacent to the Christ the Teacher Chapel was completed in September 2009.[31] At 100 feet, it is the tallest structure on campus, as well as in North Portland, a title that Mehling Hall held previously.

In athletics and recreation, in May 2014, the university began construction on the Beauchamp Recreation and Wellness Center, named after the university's 19th president, Rev. E. William Beauchamp. It will feature state of the art strength and cardio training facilities, 3 gymnasiums, a suspended track, a bike shop, classrooms, and an outdoor pursuits office. It is scheduled to be completed by May 2015. Additionally, in June 2014, renovations began on Joe Etzel Baseball field to include improved lighting, fencing, and artificial turf.

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2014. "All U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2014 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Market Value from FY 2013 to FY 2014" (PDF). 2014 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. Retrieved April 12, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c Institutional Research: Enrollment
  3. ^ a b "America's Best Colleges 2015: Regional Universities (West)". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 2015-06-05. 
  4. ^ a b c Doyle, Brian. "University of Portland". The Oregon Encyclopedia. Portland State University and the Oregon Historical Society. Retrieved 2014-05-20. 
  5. ^ Corning, Howard M. (1989) Dictionary of Oregon History. Binfords & Mort Publishing. p. 202.
  6. ^ Gauntt, Tom. “Moo-vers and shakers on Waud’s Bluff”, The Oregonian, September 26, 2004, p. H2.
  7. ^ "The College of Puget Sound", Told by the Pioneers, WPA, 1937-38, p. 224, State of Washington
  8. ^ a b c d e f g U.P. History from the university's website
  9. ^ Postal Service to Issue Stamped Postal Card Honoring the University of Portland's 100th Anniversary, from the U.S. Postal Service website]
  10. ^ Jackson, Reed (April 3, 2012). "University of Portland to change identity of library". Daily Journal of Commerce. Retrieved April 4, 2012. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Top Producers of U.S. Fulbright Students by Type of Institution, 2012-13". Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved 2012-12-23. 
  13. ^ "University of Portland". U.S. News & World Report. 2015. 
  14. ^ a b c "Common Data Set 2014-2015". University of Portland. 
  15. ^ National Association of Schools of Theatre
  16. ^ US News America's Best Graduate Schools 2010
  17. ^ a b c "About UP: Institutional Awards". University of Portland. Retrieved 25 December 2012. 
  18. ^ "School for Men to Open Soon". Oregonian (Portland, Oregon: Oregonian Publishing). September 9, 1909. p. 33. 
  19. ^ "Shiley School of Engineering: Welcome". University of Portland. Retrieved 2011-05-01. 
  20. ^ "Quick facts about UP and Shiley Hall awards". UP official website. Retrieved 2011-05-01. 
  21. ^ "Case study by firm that designed Shiley Hall, including LEED Platinum certification". Interface Engineering. Retrieved 2011-05-01. 
  22. ^ "Shiley School covered in student newspaper". UP Beacon. Retrieved 2011-05-01. 
  23. ^ a b St Vincent Hospital History from the St Vincent Hospital website
  24. ^ [1] Archived December 26, 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  25. ^ U.P. Nursing History from the university's website
  26. ^ [2] Archived July 31, 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ University of Portland. University of Portland Retrieved 1 April 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  28. ^ Detachment 695 - University of Portland, from the University of Portland website
  29. ^ About the Battalion from the Army ROTC website
  30. ^ NCAA Website "A very gracious man" Sep 29, 2003 by Beth Rosenburg
  31. ^ [3], from the University of Portland website
  32. ^ "Pat Casey". Retrieved 2009-12-01. 
  33. ^ "Dr. Michael M. Merzenich". Scientific Learning Corporation. 1997–2009. Retrieved 2009-01-02. 

External links[edit]