Founders of Blanchet House of Hospitality— Christus Magister Medal

The Blanchet House of Hospitality in downtown Portland is a service entity that for nearly half a century now has served millions of meals and helped poor and homeless men, women, and children. Blanchet House’s founders, nearly all alumni of the University of Portland and/or Columbia Preparatory School (the high school that flourished on The Bluff with the University for fifty years), trace the House roots to the Blanchet Club founded on campus in 1938, which later, at the suggestion of Most Reverend Edward Howard, then Archbishop of Portland, dedicated itself to “to feed, clothe, and offer shelter and aid to those in need.” Inspired by the legendary Portland priest Father Francis Kennard, the men of the House were blunt about their work: to act more like Christ and say less, as Bernie Harrington ’42 once noted. The impulse didn’t stop with graduation, nor was it dimmed by the war; today’s Blanchet House was formed in 1952, and since then it has served more than 14 million meals to the hungry, provided temporary housing for the homeless, and drawn more than 5,000 annual volunteers from the community to its work, among them many hundreds of University students and alumni.

“There may be no more enduring, direct, and selfless example of the University’s mission in action over many years than in the lives and works of the alumni who founded, and still work with, Blanchet House,” said University president Father Bill Beauchamp, C.S.C. “The essence of the University’s life is to see and celebrate the Christ in every heart, and these men have done that with wonderful creativity and diligence. Their alma mater is immensely proud of them.”

The founders of Blanchet House include Jim O’Hanlon ’51, Gene Feltz ’50, Joe Moore ’39, John Moore ’50, Tom Moore ’49, Dan Harrington ’50, John Little ’50, Hugh McGinnis ’48, and the late alumni Pat Carr, Dan Christianson, Kev Collins, and Bernie Harrington.

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