Dr. Robert Kelly inaugurated as 21st President of the University of Portland



PORTLAND, Ore.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Before an enthusiastic crowd of more than 1,000 members of the university community, family members, colleagues and friends, Robert D. Kelly, Ph.D., walked on the pages of University of Portland (UP) the history of the institution 21st President. Kelly becomes the first secular, African-American to lead UP in its 121-year history. The presidential inauguration ceremony — UP’s first since 2014 — was held Friday at the Chiles Center on the UP campus and was also shared nationwide via live stream.

“The University of Portland can be a beacon for spreading truth, testing hypotheses, and gaining new wisdom. For modeling what it means to debate the thorny and tense issues of the day, and gaining new insight and understanding,” Kelly said in his inaugural address. “The University of Portland can lead the way by inspiring, educating, and preparing students and campus to partner with our great city and state to address local and global challenges and gain a deeper understanding of our commitment to be engaged and active citizens. ”

Kelly further said, “In a world facing enormous challenges – poverty, homelessness, inequality, racism, war, climate change and declining spirituality – the University of Portland can be a beacon of human dignity and creative management; a place that promotes the fundamental truth of the sacred nature of all humans and the planet given to us.

After an open national search led by the university’s board of trustees, Kelly took the reins of UP leadership on July 1. It hosted more than 900 freshmen and transfer students for the 2022-23 academic year, as well as a strong group of returning sophomores, juniors and seniors. Kelly is poised to lead the University with a new five-year strategic plan to be unveiled later this fall.

In keeping with academic tradition, delegates from more than 100 colleges, universities and community organizations across the country joined the UP community in celebrating Kelly’s inauguration. Among the many speakers addressing the crowd and marking the special occasion were Bridget Turner Kelly, Ph.D., First Lady of the University of Portland; Susheela Jayapal, Multnomah County District 2 Commissioner; Dan Ryan, Portland City Commissioner for District 2; Sister Veronica Schueler, ESF, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon; Reverend William M. Lies, CSC, Provincial Superior, Congregation of Holy Cross, Province of Priests and Brothers of the United States; Brent Wilder, president of the Oregon Alliance of Independent Colleges and Universities; and a host of other religious, academic and community dignitaries.

** Downloadable inauguration photos can be found here: https://uportland.netx.net/app/#share/request/54eb4c12-faa6-4a8c-9125-a5fa783bc467

The University of Portland (UP) is an independent Catholic university run by the Congregation of the Holy Cross; with a mission centered on teaching and learning, faith and formation, and service and leadership. Several national media platforms consistently rank the University among the nation’s top higher education institutions, including U.S. News & World Report which recently named UP the “Western Region’s #1 University” for 2022-23. It is the only school in Oregon to offer a college of arts and sciences, a graduate school, and nationally accredited programs in schools of business, education, engineering, and nursing.

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