Two new administrators come to The Bluff

By Michael Lang | September 14, 2021 9:17pm

Canva by Brie Haro.

UP lost several key administrators back in June. With the new school year up and running, two of those administrative positions have been filled by Tamara Herdener and Gerardo Cifuentes. 

Herdener and Cifuentas will be taking over the positions of associate vice president for student development and associate provost for admissions, respectively. 

Tamara Herdener, associate vice president for student development

Herdener comes to UP after the departure of Matthew Rygg this past summer. Herdener will focus her leadership within the Health and Counseling Center, the Care Team, the Moreau Center for Service and Justice and the Office of Student Activities.

Prior to her appointment at UP, Herdener managed strategic initiatives and projects for the Division of Student Affairs at Oregon State University.

She also taught legal studies at American Public University for over 15 years, was the city attorney for Cannon Beach, Oregon, served as the General Counsel for the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology and rose to the rank of Major in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps. Prior to that, Herdener was a residence director at the University of Notre Dame.

Herdener earned her bachelor’s degrees in political science and world languages from Seattle University. She also received her J.D. from the University of Notre Dame Law School.

Herdener will work alongside ​​Vice President for Student Affairs John Donato.

“I am so grateful for Tammy’s personal commitment to Holy Cross Catholic education, care for the whole person, and dedication to excellence as hallmarks of all we are about at the University of Portland,” Donato said in an email.

Gerardo Cifuentes, associate provost for admissions

Effective Oct. 1, Cifuentes will take on the position of marketing and recruiting prospective undergraduate students. He succeeds Jason McDonald, who left UP at the end of May.

“In all my previous positions, I have always been attracted to mission-centered work, and from the moment I began the interview process, it was clear to me that UP is an institution in which teaching & learning, faith & formation, and service & leadership guide what takes place each and every day,” Cifuentes said in an email.

Originally from Mexico City, Cifuentes graduated from Oklahoma Christian University with a bachelor of science in business administration. He also received his master of science in business administration from Warner Pacific University.

Cifuentes has experience with leadership roles in admissions, retention, and other student services at various community colleges in Oregon such as Mt. Hood Community College and Lane Community College. 

“He has rich experience in admissions, retention, and diversity efforts, and his familiarity with the state’s community college environment will prove very useful as UP makes strides in recruiting this population of students,” Herbert Medina, acting president and provost, said in an email.

Michael Lang is a reporter for The Beacon. He can be reached at