Dora Totoian


Locals gather around a Christmas tree in St. Johns.

Dolmas, hallacas and posole: Christmas on The Bluff

Not everyone in the U.S. celebrates the holidays with the stereotypical turkey, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. For example, one year, my Romanian family had to bring the mashed potatoes to an American Thanksgiving, but we didn’t know what gravy was and that it accompanied mashed potatoes in the U.S. Imagine our confusion and embarrassment when the guests started asking us where the gravy was. The Beacon sat down to talk to other students who don’t necessarily celebrate the holiday season and Christmas specifically with turkey and gravy (or who do, but also have other customs alongside it) to learn about more ways the holiday is celebrated. 

The two potential new majors of ethnic studies and gender and women's studies would diversify the current curriculum and make it more inclusive.

Two new majors potentially joining CAS

Two new majors — gender and women’s studies, and ethnic studies — could join the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) in the next few years. If the proposals are developed and approved, these additions would diversify the CAS curriculum options. 

(Left to right) Ashley Moo-Julian, Evelyn Avila-Jimenez and Vanesa Frutos-Rodriguez, high school students from Roosevelt High School, attend classes here at UP.

Roosevelt High School seniors take classes alongside UP students

Last semester, during her Latin American Short Story class at the University of Portland, Angela Gonzalez was persuading one of her classmates to attend prom.  “Prom? Why are you two talking about prom?” a third classmate asked.  “Because we’re high school students,” Gonzalez replied. 

Dora Totoian is a reporter and the Opinion editor for the 2019-20 school year.

Letter from the editor: Welcome to your Opinion section

As the Opinions editor of The Beacon for the 2019-20 school year, I officially welcome and invite you to participate in YOUR Opinions section.  Without your submissions, the Opinions section would be merely editorials and staff opinion submissions. Interesting pieces, but not representative of the entire UP community.  Besides being your source of hyperlocal news you can’t get anywhere else, The Beacon is also a forum to share and debate ideas, and that forum is located in the Opinions section. It’s your space to share your thoughts on campus or community issues, as well as national and international matters, if you think the UP community has a connection to and should know about them. 

While some praise the progress that has been made regarding diversity and inclusion, many believe there is still a need for improvement. Photo illustration by Annika Gordon.  

Diversity and inclusion progress report: INCOMPLETE

Comments about the Diversity Center mirror sentiments expressed about diversity and inclusion efforts in general. Many people noted there have been improvements, but that they’re not enough. The topic can be sensitive at UP, and some people were hesitant to talk on the record. But those who did pointed to persistent problems regarding funding, hiring of diverse faculty and the overall campus culture surrounding diversity and inclusion. 

Seniors Caroline Holyoak and Nicole Edwards have been chosen as the Valedictorians for the Class of 2019. 

University names two valedictorians for Class of 2019

The University of Portland holds two commencement ceremonies: one for the Pamplin School of Business, Shiley School of Engineering and School of Nursing and another for the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Education. The student with the highest GPA for each ceremony is chosen as the valedictorian, Provost Tom Greene said in an email to The Beacon. Edwards, with a 3.99 GPA, will speak at the first ceremony, and Holyoak, with a 4.0 GPA, will speak at the second. 

Peter Rachor has helped build the well-know Entrepreneurship Scholars program.

Director of Entrepreneurship Peter Rachor to leave UP

Peter Rachor, director of Entrepreneurship and of the university’s nationally awarded Entrepreneur Scholars program, will leave the University of Portland after this academic year. Rachor has accepted the Hynds Entrepreneurship Fellowship at the University of Auckland in New Zealand.