University of Portland is a worthy foe on the field and in the classroom


Scroll to the bottom to hear the bells of the University of Portland.

The chiming of the new bell tower sounds in the distance on the campus of the University of Portland.

Portland will be taking on the Cougars in several sports because of BYU’s recent move to the WCC, and though the University is more than 1,000 miles away, there are more similarities between the Cougars and the Pilots than one would gather at first glace.


Like BYU, the University of Portland is religiously affiliated. The school was bought and run by the Congregation of the Holy Cross in the early 1900s. The Congregation of the Holy Cross is a Catholic Congregation of priests founded in 1837. The priests and Brothers of the Holy Cross have served the university and their mission since the founding of the school. They emphasize teaching good character and morals to their students.

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“Currently, only 50 percent of our undergraduates call themselves Catholic,” said Gary S. Chamberland, CSC, one of the brothers that serve the University of Portland and its’ students. “Currently we serve out of a mission which is to educate people to be just and honest and good.”

To supplement teaching good morals, students also commit to taking certain religion classes.

Reverend Chamberland said the university has a large Christian Evangelical group as well as those of other faiths or no faith who just like the values taught at the university.

Though the University of Portland does not have an Honor Code, some of their leaders live in student dormitories on campus.

“We have about 33 Holy Cross Priests and Brethren that live on campus,” said Reverend Chamberland. “We have 12 priests and brothers that live in the halls with the students, but mostly it’s just one per hall. We just basically offer pastoral services to whoever needs them.”

Another unique attribute of Portland’s religious affiliation is that the halls hold at least one mass a week to pray.

“It’s a way for the hall to come together and to pray for each other and the people of the world,” he said. Mostly, it’s a fascinating place. In many ways it’s more richly Catholic than it was.”


The University of Portland is known for its great engineering and entrepreneurship programs.

These programs are coupled with a set of liberal arts courses students are required to take no matter their major.

“The complement of the liberal arts core that all the students take and the strength of the engineering programs make for a nice mix,” said Sharon Jones, new dean of the Donald P. Shiley School of Engineering.

Jones said the engineering program is highly ranked and enrollment in the engineering majors has gone up in the last few years.

“We’ve … increased our enrollment by probably about 50 percent in the last 10 years,” Jones said. “So, that itself is an indicator of how much the recognition of the school is going out. It’s not just students from the Washington and Oregon area; we’re getting students from a number of different states.”

Jones said she thinks maybe BYU’s engineering program would cross paths with the University of Portland in the near future.

“BYU’s a great school. We’re … hosting one of the regional meetings for American Society of Engineering Education in the spring, and I think there might be more people coming from other schools,” Jones said.

The other academic department BYU students compete with is the entrepreneurship program at Portland. Twelve years ago, the University of Portland established their Entrepreneurship Center. They have a showcase program called Entrepreneur Scholars that includes both business and non-business majors.

“[It is] something that people can do their junior or senior year and the way that works is that they actually have to apply for the program,” said Peter Rachor, who works with the Commercialization and Entrepreneurship Program at the University of Portland. “It’s not part of the business school. This is a center for students throughout the university.”

Because of BYU’s highly ranked business programs, the Cougars and the Pilots will continue to compete in business and athletics in the coming years.

“BYU and the University of Utah are both considered very good [when it comes to entrepreneurship],” Rachor said. “We’re proud to not only have you guys in the WCC, but also in the big leagues of entrepreneurship for us.”

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