The University of Portland was founded in 1901 by the Most Reverend Alexander Christie, Archbishop of Portland, with support and counsel from Rev. John A. Zahm, C.S.C., provincial of the American Province of the Congregation of Holy Cross, a Catholic religious community that shared his belief in the importance of education. In 1902, Archbishop Christie asked the Congregation to assume control of the University. For the next 65 years Holy Cross was solely responsible for the University’s operation.
In 1967, as a means of ecumenical outreach and to involve lay people in the governance of the University, Holy Cross transferred control to a board of regents, but continued its commitment to offer the University the service of its members. As a result, the University of Portland is Oregon’s Catholic university, governed by an independent board of regents composed of men and women of various religious denominations, with Holy Cross priests and brothers as members of its faculty, staff, and administration.
The University places superb teaching as both its first virtue and a central tenet of its mission. The five colleges of the campus — the College of Arts and Sciences, the Pamplin School of Business Administration, the Shiley School of Engineering, and the Schools of Education and Nursing — offer an education that stresses broad liberal arts learning, the development of personal skills, and the opening of the mind, the heart, and the soul. Ranked by U.S. News & World Report magazine as one of the ten best regional universities in the West, the University offers some 1,300 courses, 43 undergraduate programs of study, and 17 graduate degrees.
The University is situated on a bluff near the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers in one of the large metropolitan areas of the West. Located in a residential section of the city of Portland, the 150-acre campus offers lawns, hundreds of trees, and beautiful buildings in a quiet, peaceful setting which is conducive to the learning process. Proximity to the river has suggested nautical names for the University's athletic teams, the Pilots, and the student publications, The Beacon and The Log.