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- Dundon-Berchtold Fund
- Waldschmidt Suite 300, MSC 158
- 5000 N Willamette Blvd.
- Portland OR 97203
The Dundon-Berchtold Fund for Moral Development and Applied Ethics
To ensure sustained ethical reflection is woven into every academic program on campus, University of Portland regent Amy Dundon-Berchtold and her husband Jim Berchtold ’63 established the Dundon-Berchtold Fund for Moral Development and Applied Ethics. The fund is designed to ensure that the University meets its “aspirations both to form the moral character of its students and to conduct sustained ethical reflection in applied aspects of business, science, engineering, education, health care, and the arts.”
The Dundon-Berchtold Fund includes “The Character Project,” which offers a venue for students to engage in guided discussions as to how personal value systems and beliefs can influence moral character.
The fund also includes Dundon-Berchtold Fellowships (the 2014 fellows are pictured) that provide funding for students and faculty to conduct ethics-related projects. Each student and professor receives a $2,500 stipend. They identify an ethical issue within their particular discipline, their field or college, and produce a report on their findings at year’s end.
The couple began discussing the idea of moral formation and applied ethics during a University trip in 2011 that included several priests from the Congregation of Holy Cross. During discussions on that trip with president-elect Rev. Mark Poorman, C.S.C.—who had created a similar program at the University of Notre Dame—and others, the couple made an on-the-spot exploratory gift of $25,000. Several months later, after the initial project was fine-tuned, the couple donated $500,000 to bring Fr. Poorman’s vision to reality. They pledged an additional $4 million to endow the fund, providing for sufficient operating funds and an endowed directorship.
Fr. Poorman, who is also a theology professor and one of four faculty members who team-teach The Character Project course, said that the hope is “that University of Portland graduates will continue to be distinguished for not only their competence but also their moral leadership.”
“We envision this as being a wonderful anchor for University of Portland,” Amy Dundon-Berchtold said, “making UP a leader of other universities. It will offer an inclusive environment for students from all disciplines seeking to engage in guided discussions as to how personal value systems and beliefs can influence one’s character.”
Jim Berchtold praised the enthusiasm among the faculty and students who have participated in the Dundon-Berchtold initiative. Student and faculty teams have come from business, education, the arts and sciences, health care, nursing and engineering.
“That, coupled with Fr. Poorman’s vision and enthusiasm just makes it an ideal time for this to happen,” Berchtold said.
“I’m deeply grateful for Jim and Amy’s generosity,” said Fr. Poorman. “It’s been a real pleasure to have them as partners during the whole project because they are true believers that professional ethics, applied ethics, character formation, and moral development are all things that a place like University of Portland ought to be doing.”