James was director of finance for Providence Health Systems in Portland when she passed away in 2012 at the age of 57. She graduated from Hudson’s Bay High School as the valedictorian. She earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1977 and an MBA in 1986, both from University of Portland. After passing her exam for Certified Public Accountant, she worked as an auditor for Blue Cross, Blue Shield. In 1983, she joined Providence, where she worked for most of her career.
She was a longtime supporter of the University of Portland, an avid reader and enjoyed knitting, Sudoku, crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, gardening, and photography. She traveled extensively, first with People-to-People, a high school exchange program and then returned to England to visit friends from some of those home stays. She loved the opera and the Shakespeare Festival and made numerous trips around the country with her father.
She volunteered extensively for numerous organizations and causes she supported. For more than 20 years she served as the assistant treasurer for Glenwood Community Church. For 12 years she handled the books for Heart of Hope Ministries International.
Her gift is part of the University’s RISE Campaign, which was announced in December 2010 and seeks to raise $175 million by 2014. The campaign has raised more than $172 million to date and is one of the largest development campaigns ever for a Pacific Northwest private college or university.
The campaign’s goals are divided into four major themes, each with funding targets: (1) Pursuing academic excellence and faculty funding – $70 million; (2) Providing access for all students and direct assistance – $45 million; (3) Developing faith and leadership – $10 million; and (4) Enriching the campus community and physical resources – $50 million.