The University of Portland mourns the passing of one of its most ardent supporters and legendary figures. Dr. Arthur A. “Art” Schulte, Jr., died peacefully at his home on Monday, September 24, after a lengthy illness. He was 90 years old.
Art is survived by Ruth, his wife of nearly 59 years; daughters Mary, Brigid, and Claire, all of whom are University of Portland graduates; sons-in-law Brian Nelson and Tom Bowman; and five grandchildren, Bryn, Jack, and Wyatt Nelson and Liam and Tessa Bowman. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Tessa. Services and internment took place the weekend of September 29.
Art Schulte was born March 15, 1928, in Casper, Wyoming, the youngest of the six children of Arthur Schulte and Tessa Dunn Schulte. Tall and lanky, he was an all-state basketball player at Natrona County High School, and a member of the “Iron Men” squad that won the 1946 state championship. After a stint in the U.S. Navy in the closing days of World War II, Schulte earned a bachelor’s degree in commerce from the University of Notre Dame in 1952. He earned an MBA in 1959 from the University of Denver, and his Ph.D. in business from the University of Oregon in 1964.
He won several fellowships for his teaching and Ph.D. dissertation, and was invited by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants to present his original scholarship to a gathering in New York and at their national convention. His research, which was later published in the AICPA’s prestigious Journal of Accountancy, was groundbreaking and prescient, calling out the conflict of interest within accounting firms offering both management consulting services and auditing services—visionary findings that manifested decades later in downfalls in the public accounting industry.
Art joined the University of Portland School of Business faculty in 1958, and in 1959 he wed Ruth Ellis, the charming and ebullient girl who had been his childhood neighbor and best friend’s kid sister. He quickly rose up the administrative ladder, to Dean of the School of Business (1965), Dean of Business and the Graduate School (1968), and Financial and Executive Vice President (1971). He also held the distinction of having twice served as the University’s acting president—once from 1981 to 1982 and again from 1989 to 1991.
Art is uniformly lauded as the man who saved the University from a nearly $1 million operating deficit, declining enrollment, and an all-too-real threat of financial ruin. The late 1960s and early 1970s were difficult years for the University as it struggled to achieve solid financial footing. Upon accepting his position as Executive and Financial Vice President, Art promised then University President Rev. Paul E. Waldschmidt, C.S.C., “I will work hard, and I will pray hard.” His decisions in those lean years were not always popular, but Art was widely respected for his candor, faith, and courage. After three years, the University had eliminated its operating deficit and established a sustainable financial model.
He retired from the University of Portland in 2003, after forty-five years of service and many honors, including the University’s Culligan Medal, its highest faculty honor; election to the Pamplin School of Business Hall of Fame; various awards from the Archdiocese of Portland and the University of Notre Dame; an honorary doctorate for exemplary service from his beloved UP; and, being named a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre by Pope John Paul II, one of the highest honors in Catholicism.
Art often said that the glories of his life were his family, his Catholic faith, and serving the University’s mission. A deeply devout man, he rarely missed daily Mass and often stopped by the chapel in Christie Hall to say a quick prayer on his campus walks. “I was blessed to be Catholic,” he said upon his retirement, “which I believe to be the road to light. And, of course, I was blessed by the University of Portland, which I loved. I loved the people I worked with, and I think we made wonderful progress toward being a great university. All I ever prayed for was to use the tools God gave me to be a good father, a good husband, and a man who helped make the University better than it was when I started.”
Gifts in his memory may be made to either the Dr. Arthur Schulte scholarship or the Tessa Ruth Schulte scholarship at the University of Portland, both of which directly help students in financial need attend the university to which Art devoted his life.
Our prayers and condolences to Art’s family, friends, and colleagues.