Christ the Teacher – a memorial to Reverend Thomas C. Oddo at Franz Hall Plaza, University of Portland, by Donovan Peterson.

Father Tom was a Holy Cross priest and president of the Pilots from 1982 until his death in 1989 in an auto accident. During his tenure on the bluff The Chiles Center, the LP Tennis Center and the dark cave like Chapel of Christ the Teacher by the massively overrated architect Pietro Belluschi were built on campus. A portrait of Oddo by Portland painter Wayne Chin is on the third floor of Franz Hall.

According to Oddo’s obit in the New York Times, he was a graduate of Notre Dame (the US center of Holy Cross) and Harvard.

The Times writes, “He was active in organizations studying the ordination of women and had been a national officer of Dignity, an organization promoting acceptance of homosexuals in the Catholic Church.”

Four large figures cast in bronze from clay, three women – Mary from Magdela, Mary the mother of Jesus and James, and Salome, mother of the sons of Zebedee – and Christ, sit in a circle on rough stone columns surrounding a male child. The scene depicts a bible story where the three women encounter a man dressed in white robes in the crypt of Christ.

Peterson has an MFA from PSU and lives in Mariposa, California. It’s a pretty setting in a serene campus. There are only a few other public artworks there – the Captain William Clark Monument by Michael Florin Dente, is worth visiting for the amazing view over Swan Island. Perhaps this is where Clark stood on his brief trek upriver on the Willamette. There is a strange underpopulated memorial to students who died in various wars, also by Dente, and a Virgin by the Demetz studio to remember someone named Margaret Mary Galati.