A University is a cross-roads and intersection. We mix intellectual disciplines in Schools of Business, Engineering, Nursing, Education, Arts and Sciences and hold to core competencies in the education of every student moving forward toward a University of Portland degree. We also mix and meet a diversity of students. The life-experiences and the family, geographic, national traditions encountered among the student body and faculty – in the people of our campus community – are diverse and enriching.
Implementing the University’s Vision 2020 Strategic Plan, a new academic unit was formed this summer, The Office of International Education, Diversity, and Inclusion. One of its first initiatives, a new Diversity Center – a nurturing, inclusive, safe space for all members of the University Community – was dedicated in September 2018.
Enrollment analysis for the 206 students of 1918-19 records 2 Peruvian plus 8 international students drawn from Canada. In 1938-39 the count is 117 non-Oregonians of a 795 total; in 1958-59 the 1434 students include 257 drawn from 8 countries beyond the United States (where Hawaii is still part of an outsider demographic in 1958).
Cultural diversity within the student body population has been part of UP for years. And for years and years student clubs and organizations have sponsored programming on campus to introduce and celebrate awareness of our cultural differences. From International Week (every November, from 1963), The Hawai’i Club’s annual Lu’au (in the spring, since 1974), to Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).
Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) was first organized on campus in 2005 by the students of UP’s Foreign Language House and Sigma Delta Pi (Spanish Honors Society). The holiday expresses the Catholic holy days of All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day from a particular cultural tradition. Our students observe Día de los Muertos with the creation of a traditional altar display where personal objects, photographs, and food honor and remember deceased loved ones. The day-long celebration also includes displays of artwork and a fiesta with food, music, and dancing.
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Videos of previous Día de los Muertos celebrations (from The Beacon)