Catholic News Service
Carolyn Woo
Catholic News Service
Carolyn Woo
The University of Portland is preparing for a record number of graduates at its spring commencement exercises, set for 1:30 p.m. Sunday, May 4, at the sports dome on campus.

Holy Cross Father William Beauchamp, outgoing president of the university, will confer an anticipated 818 bachelor’s degrees on Sunday. Also participating will be 111 students who expect to be awarded bachelor’s degrees at the end of the summer, for a record 929 undergraduate students. Anne Thompson, NBC News’ Chief Environmental Affairs correspondent, will deliver the commencement address.

The university will hold a separate commencement ceremony for an anticipated 212 graduate students on Saturday, May 3, at 12:30 p.m. in the Chiles Center. Father Beauchamp, who steps down this spring, will be the commencement speaker.

Receiving the university’s highest honor, the Christus Magister Medal, is Carolyn Woo, president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services, which reaches some 130 million people in nearly 100 countries annually with its relief and development work.

Before joining CRS in 2012, Woo was dean and professor at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza School of Business (recognized as the best in America for undergraduate and ethics education during her tenure) and a vice president and professor at Purdue University, where she earned all three of her degrees.

Receiving honorary doctorates at the University’s May 4 commencement are:

• Archbishop Alexander Sample, who is the 11th Archbishop of Portland. He was twice appointed a bishop by Pope Benedict XVI – first to the Diocese of Marquette, Michigan, in 2005, and then to Portland in 2013. A Montana native, Archbishop Sample earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees in metallurgical engineering at Michigan Tech University, before being ordained a priest in 1990 and serving widely as a parish priest before he was called to be a bishop.

• Thompson, who has been NBC’s environmental affairs correspondent since 2007. She has traveled the world in that capacity, reporting on pollution, alternative fuels, global warming, land usage and new technologies. She has also been the network’s chief financial correspondent and national news reporter, and was an award-winning reporter for WDIV-TV in Detroit and KSDK-TV in Saint Louis. She began her broadcasting career at WNDU-TV in Indiana after graduation from the University of Notre Dame.

• John Beckman, of the University of Portland’s Class of 1942, who was instrumental in the invention of the photo-finish camera. Beckman is a photographer, an amateur cosmologist, pianist, and theoretical mathematician, a licensed pilot, and for many years ran a ranch in California. Beckman, along with his wife Patricia, is a philanthropist to musical, historical, communal and educational causes in Oregon. He and Patricia are the founders of the university’s Humor Project, a multi-disciplinary effort to study and foment humor as a “spiritual and revolutionary energy in every field of endeavor, from business to politics to the arts and beyond.”

• James Popham, of the University of Portland’s Class of 1953, who is a professor of education emeritus at UCLA, a scholar on testing methods and efficacy, and the author of many books. UCLA has honored him as one of its best 20 professors of the 20th century. Popham has been president of the American Educational Research Association, is the founding editor of the journal Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, and is a popular speaker who is often in demand for his humor as much as for his expertise in educational evaluation and measurement.

• Ed Ray, president of Oregon State University since 2003, who has overseen advances at OSU. During his tenure, the school has raised more than $1 billion for students and faculty, developed a national reputation for research in science, opened and expanded the Cascades campus in Bend, and successfully grappled with declining public funding.