A sign about COVID-19 precautions on the University of Portland campus.

A sign about COVID-19 precautions on the University of Portland campus.

University of Portland / University of Portland

The University of Portland’s president announced Thursday that he will be stepping down from his position in June.

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Rev. Mark Poorman has been with the private Portland university for nearly a decade — first as executive vice president in 2011, and then becoming president in 2014. Poorman is also a theology professor.

“After nearly 10 years on The Bluff — and after much prayer, discernment and consultation — I have decided to finish my tenure as University of Portland president after the conclusion of the academic year, at the end of June,” Poorman said in a message to the University of Portland campus community.

In his statement, Poorman said he will be taking a sabbatical before an anticipated return to teaching, writing and pastoral ministry.

Rev. James Lies will serve as the university’s interim president starting in July, after serving as the interim senior director for academic initiatives and partnerships for the University of Notre Dame London Global Gateway. Lies had previously worked at UP as an associate professor.

The university has not announced a search for its next president.

“Along with the President’s Leadership Cabinet and the Provost’s Council, I am committed to ensuring a smooth transition to our interim president,” Poorman said in his statement. “Until then, there is still much to be done here on campus as we continue to navigate the challenges of COVID-19, further strengthen our University’s financial standing, assure a strong class of incoming first-year students, and prepare for a primarily in-person Fall 2021 Semester. I look forward to continuing our efforts in these areas through the end of June.”

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