Fr. Arthur Schoenfeldt, C.S.C., died on December 9, 2007 at Holy Cross House in Notre Dame, Indiana. He was 77 years old. Known to students, alumni, faculty, and staff alike as “Padre,” Fr. Schoenfeldt served and lived at the University of Portland from 1978 until a few months before his death. In the earlier of these years he served as resident director of Christie Hall, but his ministry to students and staff continued through his years of residence in Mehling Hall and at Holy Cross Court and he came to know many students by name and family even when he had no formal connection. He was a native of Portland and graduated from Columbia Prep when the school was still located on the Bluff. Schoenfeldt Hall, a student residence funded in part by a gift from his family, is named in Padre’s honor.
Fr. Michael O’Brien, C.S.C., died on December 16, 2003, at the age of 92. He had served at the University of Portland as a faculty member in the English department, as chairman of the department, and as vice president for academic affairs from 1969 to 1976. He enjoyed a reputation as a popular, inspiring, and witty member of the University community. He had earlier served as the dean of studies under an older title and as resident director of the Salzburg Program.
Father John L. VanWolvlear, C.S.C., died on December 21, 1995 at Notre Dame, Indiana, at the age of 73. He was playing a game of tennis at the time, “and no doubt Van was winning,” according to Rev. George Bernard, C.S.C., in his eulogy for his good friend. Fr. Van, as he was universally called, came to Portland in 1965 and served in several posts, notably as director of admissions. He remained at Portland until 1973 when he was appointed resident director of the Salzburg Program. Many alumni will remember his booming voice and habit of roaring with laughter at the conclusion of his many stories.
Also, the Christmas season has always had special meaning to the University, most obviously due to its long association with the fathers and brothers of the Congregation of Holy Cross. For many years the University hosted an annual Christmas party for children of faculty and staff, complete with visits from Santa Claus. The duty of putting on the Santa suit was shared among University faculty and administrators for a number of years, but during the 1960s and 1970s the suit was most often donned by University president Rev. Paul Waldschmidt, C.S.C., who had a special gift for channeling the spirit of Olde Saint Nick, both in personality and physical build.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all from the marketing and communications staff.