University of Portland to hold undergraduate commencement on Sunday, May 3; Larree Renda, former executive of Safeway, Inc., and member of UP Board of Regents, to speak


April 6, 2015

University of Portland will hold its 2015 spring commencement exercises on Sunday, May 3 at 1:30 p.m. at the Earle A. and Virginia H. Chiles Center on campus, 5000 N. Willamette Blvd. University President Rev. Mark L. Poorman, C.S.C., will confer an anticipated 736 bachelor’s degrees on Sunday. Also participating will be 121 students who expect to be awarded bachelor’s degrees at the end of the summer, raising the total to 857 undergraduate students.

Larree Renda, former executive vice president of Safeway, Inc., and president of Safeway Health, Inc., will deliver the commencement address. She is also a member of the University’s Board of Regents.

The University will hold a separate commencement ceremony for an anticipated 219 graduate students on Saturday, May 2, at 12:30 p.m. in the Chiles Center. Anne Fadiman, Yale University professor and renowned essayist, will deliver the commencement address at the graduate ceremony.

Tickets are required for all undergraduate commencement events. Please visit this site for ticket information. For those unable to attend, the University will be providing a free live web stream of both Saturday’s and Sunday’s Commencement at

Six 2015 commencement honorees will be recognized during the undergraduate ceremony, including Fr. William Hayes, S.J., who will receive the University’s highest honor, the Christus Magister Medal. Formerly of Jesuit High School in Portland, Fr. Hayes spent his entire professional life, more than 65 years, in Catholic education. He became vice principal of Jesuit High School in 1960 and later served as principal and president at Gonzaga Prep in Spokane, vice president of Seattle University, and pastor of St. Joseph’s Parish in Seattle before coming back to Jesuit High School as president in 1984.  Soon after Fr. Hayes became the president of Jesuit, a group of the school’s trustees began to seriously consider closing the school, as it was running a significant deficit. Fr. Hayes balanced the budget in that first year, and the operating deficit was eliminated in two years. Through his leadership, Jesuit strengthened its finances and reputation, introduced coeducation and developed a stronger pastoral presence. Fr. Hayes finished his career at Jesuit working in Planned Giving and co-chairing another capital campaign. He is now retired in Spokane.

Five honorary doctorate recipients will also be recognized on Sunday:

Anne Fadiman
Yale University professor and renowned essayist Anne Fadiman is the former editor of The American Scholar and Civilization magazines. Her book The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down won the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the Salon Book Award. She is also the author of the essay collections Ex Libris and At Large and At Small; her essay “Under Water” will be in the March 2015 issue of Portland Magazine. Fadiman will deliver the University’s graduate school commencement address.

David Haas
David Haas, director of the Emmaus Center for Music, Prayer, and Ministry, in St. Paul, Minnesota, is a noted Catholic composer. With more than 45 collections and recordings of his work widely used in Christian worship, Haas is one of the most prolific and influential composers of contemporary Catholic liturgical music since the Second Vatican Council. He is also the author of some 20 books on liturgy, music ministry, spirituality, religious education and youth ministry.

Scott Malpass
Scott Malpass, vice president and chief investment officer at the University of Notra Dame, is responsible for investment of the university’s endowment, working capital, pension and life income assets. He and his staff closely partner with the most sophisticated investment management organizations throughout the world, which has allowed the Notre Dame Endowment to achieve top tier investment performance over both short and long-term time periods. In 2014, Notre Dame’s assets were worth close to $10 billion, making the university’s endowment the 12th largest in American higher education and the largest at a Catholic university. Malpass is among a group of industry veterans forming a fund to manage the endowments of Catholic colleges and foundations. He is also an assistant professor of finance in the Mendoza College of Business at Notre Dame and serves on the investment advisory committee for Major League Baseball.

Larree Renda
Larree Renda, former executive vice president of Safeway, Inc., and president of Safeway Health, Inc., started her career in 1974 bagging groceries. She is a member of the University of Portland’s Board of Regents and mother of three, including two University of Portland graduates. She was the first woman inducted into the California Grocers Association Hall of Achievement in 2008 for her career of significant industry accomplishments. In 2009, she was named Food Industry Executive of the Year by the USC Marshall Food Industry Management Program. Renda was the 2010 Chair of the California Chamber of Commerce, and in 2001 and 2002 was voted one of the “50 Most Influential Women in Business” by Fortune Magazine. She retired this year from Safeway, Inc. after 40 years of service. Renda will deliver the University’s undergraduate commencement address.

Walter Urba, M.D.
Dr. Walter Urba, medical director and director of cancer research at the Robert W. Franz Cancer Research Center, Earle A. Chiles Research Institute, at Providence Portland Medical Center, is one of the world’s leaders in working against cancers with immunology. Dr. Urba is the former head of clinical immunology services and director of the Clinical Services Program at the National Cancer Institute in Maryland. He is an international scholar in immunology and oncology and has particular expertise in the design and implementation of clinical trials of novel immunotherapy drugs.


University of Portland
5000 N. Willamette Blvd.,
Portland, Oregon 97203-5798