University of Portland benefactor Amy Dundon-Berchtold dies

By William Seekamp | March 25, 2020 7:56pm

Amy Dundon-Berchtold pictured with her husband Jim Berchtold. Photo courtesy of the University of Portland.

Amy Dundon-Berchtold, a key supporter and benefactor of the University of Portland died on March 16. At this time the cause of death has not been released. 

Her most visible legacy at UP is Dundon-Berchtold Hall which bears her name. Support from Amy and her husband, Jim Berchtold, was also integral in UP’s shift to an emphasis on applied ethics via the Dundon-Berchtold Institute.

President of the University of Portland Fr. Mark Poorman, described Amy not only as a great friend to the university but as a personal friend.

"The University of Portland has known few greater friends than Amy Dundon-Berchtold,” Poorman said. “Amy championed the study of character and applied ethics on our campus and made it possible for UP to emerge as a leader in personal moral formation. Along with her husband, she gave generously to student financial aid and provided the lead gift for Dundon-Berchtold Hall. I’ll remember Amy as an ardent supporter of UP, an extraordinary member of our Board of Regents, and a great personal friend."

After graduating from the University of Southern California in 1972 with a bachelor’s in education, Amy decided to change careers. She transitioned into real-estate after being encouraged to do so by her late first husband, Ed Dundon, and her mother.

To her surprise, she was quite good at it, as she detailed in an alumni stories article in the USC Rossier Centennial.

“It turned out that I was actually pretty good at it,” Amy said in the article. “When I was still just getting started in the business, my mother and I started a little friendly competition to see who could earn more in a year of real estate transactions. I won. In one year, I doubled my initial investment.”

Amy and her husband, a UP 1963 alum, were generous in their philanthropy, donating large sums to organizations like Boys & Girls Club of Garden Grove, the University of Southern California, the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund, Central Catholic High School and the University of Portland.

They donated $15,000,000 in 2015 to fund part of the construction for the $34,000,000 Dundon-Berchtold Hall and the Dundon-Berchtold Institute for Moral Formation and Applied Ethics, which finances the character project seminar, faculty fellow and Student Scholar joint research projects.

There is currently no celebration of life or funeral mass scheduled. 

William Seekamp is a reporter for The Beacon. He can be reached at