It was Fr. John Zahm, CSC who was Provincial Superior when Archbishop Christie first looked to the Holy Cross community to provide staffing and leadership on the Bluff. After a hasty survey visit to the Northwest in January of 1902, Fr. Zahm agreed to the deal, swiftly dispatched a team of priests and brothers, such that the new and improved Columbia University was in-session on the Bluff by the time of his second visit in December of that same year. Speaking before the student body and guests, he pronounced that the school’s “future is secure and it is only a question of a few years before it would take the more foremost rank among the educational institutions on the Pacific Coast. He announced that he had his architect working on the plans for a new Hall, and also on a new library building. Schools of Law, Medicine and Technology will follow, he said, in a very few years.”
The report on Fr. Zahm’s reception and welcome appears in the December 1902 issue of The Columbiad, the precursor student publication of the BEACON. The report concludes: “We trust that it was only the beginning of those happy occasions that will make Columbia known far and wide as the New Notre Dame” (volume I, issue 3, p. 47).
In 2014 the University of Portland, for the 20th consecutive year, received a top-ten ranking by U.S. News & World Report. In the magazine’s “2015 America’s Best Colleges” issue, the University of Portland is ranked 8th out of 114 institutions listed in the “Regional Universities – West” classification. So in the meantime, it seems as if we are doing quite well.
For further, see James T. Covert, A Point of Pride: The University of Portland Story, pp. 34-37.