Dr. Don V. Romanaggi '56 | University of Portland

Dr. Don V. Romanaggi '56

Don Romanaggi’s name would have been indelible at the University of Portland even before it was affixed to Old Science Hall, in foot-high bronze letters; as a stellar student, a committed alumnus, a dedicated regent, a stalwart fan of Pilot athletics, and a remarkably generous and creative benefactor, he has served the University in many capacities and arenas, and the impact of his vision and largesse will be felt on The Bluff for many years to come.

The story of his deep commitment to the University may last, in fact, as long as the lovely story of his romance with the beaming freshman girl he met on campus in 1955; her name was Agnes Stoffel, and soon enough they were married, and they enjoyed nearly fifty years together, raising their children and pouring their energies into the University they loved, before Agnes returned to the Creator in 2008.

Born and raised in Portland, Don Romanaggi graduated from the University in 1956, earned his medical degree at Loyola Univer­sity in Chicago, and returned to Portland to practice, specializing in immunology and the treatment of allergies and asthma. He also taught at Oregon Health Sciences University for many years. But even in the midst of a very busy practice he found time to help the University in many areas — creating scholarships for students (notably the Romanaggi Endowed Scholarship in Science and the Father Gregory Lombardo, C.S.C., Endowed Scholarship in Theology, as well as fueling scholarships named for the late Father Fred Barr, C.S.C., and for University president Father Bill Beauchamp, C.S.C.), contributing early and often to Pilot athletics as the Uni­versity’s sports programs began their rise to national prominence, contributing generously to engi­neering efforts, and most notably to the stunning growth among the sciences at the University. Don and Agnes were key donors to Swindells Hall, and were among the first donors to the Father John Molter, C.S.C., Chair in Science, honoring the professor from whom Don famously once earned the dollar the legendary priest-­professor promised the rare student who got an A in his science class.

“Don and Agnes were absolutely instrumental in jump-starting the University’s rise to preeminence in the West,” says Father David Tyson, superior of the Congregation of Holy Cross in the United States and the University’s 18th president. “Their dedication, their willingness to lead, their unwavering support, their dedication to the University were crucial to the University’s rise.” University president Father Bill Beauchamp is even more direct: “Don and Agnes’ love for the University where they met has led us to a whole new vision of what this institution can be.”

The Romanaggi name will be celebrated for many years now, with the naming of Old Science Hall for the man who ranged its corridors as a shy student; Don and Agnes’ major gift for Romanaggi Hall allowed a thorough renovation, construction of handicapped access venues and an elevator; the gift also foresightedly provides for continued maintenance of the building for many years.

To celebrate a brilliant man who never forgot the University he loved, who served it in many creative capacities and with wonderful generosity, and to celebrate also his late wife whose wit and humor will never be forgotten on The Bluff, the University today presents an honorary doctorate of public service to Don Romanaggi, with prayers and regards.