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Poorman appointed to Portland

Sara Felsenstein | Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Fr. Mark Poorman has been appointed executive vice president and associate professor of theology at the University of Portland, effective July 2011.

Poorman, associate professor of theology and former vice president for Student Affairs at Notre Dame, said he is “grateful, honored and excited to accept the invitation to serve the University of Portland as executive vice president.”

The University of Portland, a Catholic university in Oregon, has been closely affiliated for more than a century with the Congregation of Holy Cross in South Bend, Ind.

Poorman’s administrative responsibilities will include management oversight of the divisions of University operations, financial affairs, University relations and student affairs, he said.

“Specifically, the vice presidents who lead all those divisions will report to me and I will support them so they can be as effective as possible in their service to the University,” he said. “Of course, as a priest I will be involved in the pastoral mission of the University.”

Poorman said the faculty at the University of Portland is centered around students, and the Catholic character of the institution is evident in many dimensions of the school’s academic and community life. 

“The University of Portland is interested in educating the whole person — intellectually, emotionally and spiritually — something to which I’ve devoted my priesthood and religious life,” he said. “So it’s a good fit.” 

Poorman served as vice president for Student Affairs from 1999 to 2010. In this position, he was responsible for a $25 million annual budget and 300 staff members. His administrative duties involved supervising Notre Dame’s residential life as well as other student services, activities and programs, including Campus Ministry, Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP), the Student Activities Office (SAO), the Counseling Center, Health Services, the Career Center, the Office of Alcohol and Drug Education, the Gender Relations Center and Multicultural and International Student Services.

He stepped down from his position as vice president in November 2009, effective June 30.

“During his tenure as vice president, Poorman led the Division of Student Affairs through a period of growth and development in numerous areas, including the integration of academics and residential life, the enhancement of programs and activities contributing to campus social life, ongoing efforts to welcome and retain a diverse student body and continuous improvement of a broad range of student services,” a press release said.

Poorman also oversaw the construction of Ryan and Duncan residence halls, the Coleman-Morse Center, Hammes-Mowbray Hall, Legends of Notre Dame and the renovation of St. Liam Hall.

Prior to his appointment as vice president, Poorman served at Notre Dame as executive assistant to the executive vice president and the president.

Poorman graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Illinois, and earned his master of divinity degree from Notre Dame.

He was ordained a priest in 1982, and his first assignment after ordination was to come to Notre Dame to serve as rector of Dillon Hall, associate director of Campus Ministry, and instructor in theology. He then pursued graduate studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, where he earned a Ph.D. in Christian Ethics.

After earning his Ph.D., Poorman returned to the Notre Dame theology department to serve full-time on the faculty.

One of Poorman’s most significant experiences at Notre Dame, he said, has been serving as priest-in-residence in Keough Hall. He has lived in Keough since 1996, the year the dorm opened.

“I have always considered the pastoral presence of Holy Cross in the residence halls to be one of the best features of our higher education institutions, and surely one of the most rewarding ministries in the Congregation,” he said.

Poorman said living with students enhances his understandings of his other roles. He plans to live in a residence hall at the University of Portland.

“It has kept me very close to the experiences of students and has afforded me a perspective that informed my roles as faculty, staff and administration and indeed, my vocation as a priest,” he said. “Leaving Keough will be one of the most difficult separations I’ll have to make in moving to Portland. The community we have there is special, even by Notre Dame’s high standards.”

Poorman said he looks forward to serving the University of Portland, because it is a Holy Cross institution dedicated to teaching and learning, faith and formation, as well as service and leadership.

“University of Portland embodies the same Holy Cross charisma of ‘educating in the faith’ as our other schools: Notre Dame, Stonehill College, King’s College and St. Edward’s University,” he said.

Poorman said in all of these places, members of the Congregation serve as faculty, staff, administrators and pastoral ministers.

“Our hope is that we are able, through the grace of God, to be agents of formation and transformation for students and others,” he said.