Too often, institutions are mistaken and judged by exteriors, as measured in bricks and mortar, in buildings, monument, edifice. But the life of a University is made of people – persons who give themselves body and soul, blood and tears – who define the character and life to the University of Portland by their lives and commitments.
One of our pillars – bearing up as student, later professor and mentor and benefactor – Dr. Manuel “Manny” Jato Macias, returned to the earth on March 19, 2016, age 86 (never fully recovered from a debilitating stroke suffered on Christmas Eve in 1998).
His testimony and affection is on record from this interview published in Portland Magazine (Autumn, 2000)
“the University is home to me, I love it. I always thought I was building something useful there. I met marvelous people there who inspired me. The University is changing now, and that’s good and a little painful – there’s a part of everyone that wishes things always stayed the same. Yet we must progress, or we fail; and my heart stays there, always the same, always in love.”
Dr. Macias abided with UP life-long. Arriving on the Bluff in 1947, a freshman committed to the pedagogy of the priests and brothers of Holy Cross, he graduated cum laude in 1951, and in 1958 returned as colleague and professor. While a student at UP, the future Professor of Spanish was a member of the Spanish Club, but listed there with the Anglo-name ‘Mike’ in the yearbook photo. Dr. Manuel Macias, PhD., Professor of Spanish from 1958-1995, served as department chair for 12 years; assisted and directed the University of Portland Program in Spain from 1969-1972; received the Culligan Award in 1963, Outstanding Teacher Award in 1993, and in 1994 the Alexander Christie Award. He served faithfully and colorfully as Grand Marshal at University commencements from 1976-1995.
Manny’s benefactions to the University were many, some of which were monetary. Among his donations: he established multiple student scholarships; contributed to Chapel of Christ the Teacher building-fund; commissioned the campus landmark “O Cruceiro” (in memory of his parents and brother) located beside the Clark Library; donated a collection of books to the University library; and honored the University Museum with some of his prized belongings, (including his “blue lampshade” hexagonal birrete — biretta or academic cap). All of these gifts — and the inspiration Manny shared with generations of students — will long be part of the University’s foundation, history, and legacy.
Photo gallery: click on image to enlarge: