Reverend Richard Berg, C.S.C. is a Portland native, attending Columbia Prep ’54 for high school, Notre Dame for seminary, and the University of Portland for a PhD in Psychology ’69. The career circle coming full and fulfilled by serving as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences from 1978-1991; and as emeritus professor since 1998. Except that for Fr. Berg, Consecrated Life means that your horizons sometimes expand when you are not looking and without consideration of the neat lines of your career-planning.
From 1952 onward, Pilots have been involved in volunteerism and social outreach to the poor, outcast and helpless through Blanchet House in the Old Town area of central Portland.
In 1991 while he was still CAS Dean, Fr. Berg was asked by the Archbishop of Portland to administer the Downtown Chapel in Old Town. A package deal for the Archbishop. An opportunity for UP. Because through friendship, knowledge of the school, and administrative connections, the University created new student internships in Social Work and Nursing programs at the same time. That is, Fr. Berg brought students right alongside him in direct collaboration working among the lost, sick, forgotten in Portland. The UP Mission elements of Teaching and Learning operating in direct contact with the mission practice of Service and Leadership.
On June 18, 2008 Mary Sue Richen and Fr. Richard Berg received an achievement award from the Coordinating Committee to End Homelessness. The award was presented by Portland’s mayor Tom Potter and Multnomah County Commissioner Ted Wheeler. From the citation:
‘This brother-sister team has spent 20 years ministering to the frail and poor of downtown Portland. Dick established the Macdonald Center with innovative financial and care models, including outreach to those isolated in residency hotels. Mary Sue has been there since day one and has made overcoming social isolation one of the Center’s primary missions. Dick’s vision and creativity are well complimented by Mary Sue’s gentleness and compassion. Together they have made a lasting difference in the lives of the city’s most vulnerable residents.’
(The Macdonald Center was founded in 1978 by Maybelle Clark Macdonald; who together with her family, is a major benefactor of the Clark Family Library.)
Sources: The Beacon, February 22, 1990, p. 2; March 21, 1991, p. 4; October 10, 1991, p. 9; October 31, 1991, p. 7; November 18, 1993, p. 8.
(cf. Portland Magazine, Autumn 2008, p. 47)