Bishop Paul Waldschmidt Of Portland
PORTLAND - Roman Catholic Bishop Paul Waldschmidt, former president of the University of Portland and a longtime advocate of civil rights, has died. He was 74.
Bishop Waldschmidt died Thursday in St. Vincent Hospital and Medical Center, a week after suffering a heart attack in the hospital.
Bishop Waldschmidt, who retired in 1990, had been in poor health in recent years, suffering from diabetes and other ailments.
He became president of the University of Portland in 1962. When he left 16 years later, enrollment had nearly tripled, to more than 2,500.
"The bishop was, without a doubt, the most significant and accomplished president in the history of the University of Portland," said the Rev. David Tyson, the current president.
In the 1960s, Bishop Waldschmidt marched for civil rights. He was the driving force behind the Greater Portland Council of Churches, which became Ecumenical Ministries, believed the largest local interfaith group in the nation.
He worked with the Jewish community years before the Vatican officially encouraged such efforts.
Pope Paul VI appointed Bishop Waldschmidt auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Portland in 1978. The archdiocese covers western Oregon and has 250,000 members.
With the resources of the church, Bishop Waldschmidt provided housing, jobs and language training for 10,000 refugees of various faiths, most of them from Southeast Asia.
"He was one of the greatest defenders of human civil rights of any churchman I've known," said Rodney Page, executive director of Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon.
The National Conference of Christians and Jews honored Bishop Waldschmidt with its human-relations award in 1979. In 1984, he was named First Citizen of Portland.
Bishop Waldschmidt was born in Evansville, Ind. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1942 and was ordained in 1946.
Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Tuesday in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Interment will be at 3:30 p.m. Thursday at Notre Dame.
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