Why we celebrate Founders' Day

By Carlos Fuentes | April 6, 2019 2:23pm

Students presented posters of their research and senior thesis projects in Franz Hall to peers and faculty on Founder's Day 2018. 

Media Credit: Molly Lowney / The Beacon

To most students, Founders’ Day is just another day off to relax and catch up on homework. But do you know why we celebrate the day? Founders’ Day, which is on Tuesday April 9, has been a long-standing tradition at the University of Portland since the school’s earliest days, where students present their senior capstones and research projects to the greater UP community.

According to UP’s website, Founders’ Day was first celebrated in 1902, a year after UP was founded, in recognition of University Founders Alexander Christie and Rev. John Zahm. The day was originally reserved for selected speakers to talk to the student body, but former UP President Rev. David T. Tyson revitalized it in 2001 to become a day where students chosen by their respective departments present their capstones and research projects.

All 131 presentations are free and open to the public. Classes held before 4 p.m. are cancelled on Founders’ Day, so students can watch their peers present their projects. 

Assistant Provost John Orr believes that Founders’ Day brings something important to UP.

“I think that it can be inspirational to the students sitting in the audience listening to their peers and finding out what opportunities are available to them,” Orr said. “I encourage all students to go and explore the cool things going on in different departments that we don’t always get to see.”

The day will begin at 8:30 a.m. with a breakfast awards banquet for invited seniors, where awards such as the Undergraduate Research Award and the Dean’s Awards will be announced. After that, four sessions of presentations will begin and proceed until the end of the day’s events at 4:05 p.m. 

Between sessions, selected seniors are invited to a scholarship luncheon hosted in the Chiles Center at noon, which is a celebration of the university’s scholarship donors. After presentations are finished, Founders’ Day will conclude with a prayer service in the Chapel of Christ the Teacher. 

In addition to presentations, there will be over 90 posters located in Franz Hall, Shiley Hall, and the Buckley Center Auditorium. Topics this year range from ‘Impact of Limited English Proficiency on Health Outcomes’ from the School of Nursing to a poster on ‘Relationship Between Ideal Body Exposure and Body Imageby students in the College of Arts and Sciences. 

There will also be unique presentations outside of academics including a case presentation by the UP Mock Trial Team, the Music Program Honors Recital and the Annual Founders’ Day Elevator Pitch, which is a competition for students to present their best 90-second pitch to an audience about their idea for an organization or product.

A full schedule of the day’s events can be found here.

Carlos Fuentes is a news reporter for the Beacon. He can be reached at fuentes22@up.edu.