Welcome to a New Semester on The Bluff | University of Portland

Welcome to a New Semester on The Bluff

Dear Students, Staff, and Faculty,

Welcome to a new semester on The Bluff!

I hope that your Winter Break featured opportunities for rest and rejuvenation. I hope, too, that you join me in excitement for the start of our Spring 2023 academic term. As we begin new courses, take on new projects, and forge and strengthen relationships with fellow community members, know of my prayers and best wishes.

I also hope that you will join me in welcoming the prospective students and families who will be visiting campus during the semester ahead for visitation days, Weekend on The Bluff, and more. We have a wonderful opportunity to showcase our extraordinary institution and attract future Pilots. So if you see a prospective student on campus, please take a moment to connect with them, make them feel welcome, and tell them about life on The Bluff. Your warmth, care, and insights do so much to make future students and their families see UP as their home.

This new semester greets us with many causes for excitement. Indeed, we are marking important holidays, welcoming new faces, and launching new initiatives. To bring you up to speed on all that is happening on The Bluff, I hope you will take a moment to review my note below.


The University of Portland Community will reflect on the life, legacy, and advocacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., next week. Monday, January 16, will feature a service with the Portland Interfaith Gospel Choir in the Chapel of Christ the Teacher at 7:00 p.m. On Tuesday, January 17, we will host a panel discussion featuring students, staff, and alumni that will reflect on the question, "Who Is In Our Beloved Community?" The event will take place at 5:00 p.m. in Brian Doyle Auditorium (Dundon-Berchtold Hall 004). I hope to see you at both of these wonderful and important gatherings!

To learn more about the University's MLK Day ON! programs, including engagement projects and opportunities for creating cards of gratitude for our Facilities Services and Bon App teams, please visit our MLK Day ON! website.

Welcoming Dr. Elise Moentmann as Interim Provost

I hope that you will join me in welcoming and thanking Dr. Elise Moentmann as she assumes the role of Interim Provost. Dr. Moentmann is among our institution's most widely-respected leaders and she will provide exceptional interim leadership to our Academic Division in the months ahead. Soon, we will launch a comprehensive search for the University's next Provost. We will be assisted by WittKieffer, a global leader in academic leadership search. Our Search Committee will feature members from across the institution, and I have every confidence that we will attract a qualified and diverse field of candidates for this important role. Further details on our search process will be shared with the community in the coming weeks.

Welcoming Greg Naleski as Vice President for University Relations

I hope, also, that you will join me in welcoming Greg Naleski to UP as our new Vice President for University Relations. Greg is a remarkable leader in fundraising and advancement for Catholic and educational institutions. He views university relations work as essential to ensuring that students, staff, and faculty have the resources they need to thrive. Along with his colleagues in Development, University Events, and Alumni & Parent Relations, I am confident that Greg will do great things in service of our institution. I hope that you will offer Greg a warm welcome as he takes on this important role.

Launching Our New Strategic Plan

Next week, we will formally launch Hope, Renewal, Transformation: The Strategic Plan for the University of Portland. This new plan is a blueprint, an expression of values, and a guide for translating our sacred Catholic, Holy Cross mission into a plan of action. The result of many months of work and wonderful contributions from so many members of the UP community, Hope, Renewal, Transformation will serve as our primary planning document for the next five years. I am excited to share it with you next week and to embark upon its implementation with all community members.

Seeking Commencement Honoree Nominations

Community members are warmly invited to submit nominations for Commencement Speaker, Honorary Degree recipients, and Christus Magister Medal recipient. To nominate a worthy individual, please email commencement@up.edu with the nominee's name, their connection (if any) with UP, and a brief paragraph explaining why they are worthy of a Commencement Honor. Thank you in advance for submitting your ideas!

Celebrating Staff Awardees & Recognizing New Staff Senators

Just before our Winter Break, staff members from across the University gathered to celebrate the end of the semester, honor colleagues for reaching milestone anniversaries, and recognize the recipients of our staff awards. It was a wonderful event, and I'm pleased to now share the names of our award recipients with the full campus community:

Presidential Citation: Carrie Donnellan, Director of Admissions Enrollment Systems and Reporting

Presidential Team Award: Inauguration Committee

Deiss/Dodson Award for Facilities Services Colleagues: Scott Pitka and Joe Reilly of the Events Set-Up Crew

Henzi Award for Outstanding Staff Colleagues: Niang-Hoon Chew, Admissions Data Technical Specialist

Hooyboer Award for Outstanding Staff Colleagues: Glenna Andrews, Associate Athletic Director for Academic & Student-Athlete Development

Miltner Award for Exemplary Service: Dr. Matt Daily, Associate Director of the Shepard Academic Resource Center and Program Manager for Special Populations and Learning Assistance

Additionally, we announced the inaugural cohort of Staff Senators, as chosen by the Staff Senate Working Group. I am excited to work alongside these wonderful staff leaders: Emma Ahern, Miho Arai, Joe Buck, Aimee Davidse, Bill Early, Shaun Ekhause, Amyl Freeberg, Linda Gill, Marti Jacobs, Hannah Katibah, Julia Marquez, Jack Mullaney, Greg Peterson, Rebecca Seibert, and Shaylene Smith. Please join me in thanking these individuals for their service to the staff community and the University.

Launching Our Vice President for Enrollment Management Search

In the weeks ahead, we will formally launch our search for a Vice President for Enrollment Management. My vision is that this new leader will help us to create a seamless thread of attraction and retention, from prospective student, to applicant, to confirmed student, to matriculated student, to graduate. The Vice President for Enrollment Management will oversee undergraduate admissions, graduate admissions, and financial aid. They will also collaborate with individuals and offices from across the institution engaged in the important work of recruitment and retention. I have asked Vice President for Financial Affairs Eric Barger to chair our Search Committee, which is comprised of student, faculty, and staff representatives. More details on the search process will be shared soon.

As I look across The Bluff, I see so many reasons for pride. We have brilliant students, dedicated staff and faculty, a beautiful campus, and a wonderful mission. Pilots are accomplishing amazing things in classrooms and laboratories, in residence halls and maker spaces, on stage and on the field of play, here in Portland and around the world. We are launching new initiatives, like the Staff Senate and our Strategic Plan; we are welcoming new faces; and, simply by living, learning, and working here on The Bluff, we are contributing so much to the richness and vibrancy of our Holy Cross educational community.

Let us approach this new semester with courage, optimism, fortitude, and clarity of purpose. Let us care for one another and for the beautiful campus that we call our home. Let us move forward with hearts that are filled with hope, ready for renewal, and excited for transformation.

Thank you, God bless you, and Go Pilots!