Home AEC Chiles Foundation Announces $5MM Gift for Building Improvements at the University of...

Chiles Foundation Announces $5MM Gift for Building Improvements at the University of Portland’s 4,852-Seat Chiles Center

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PORTLAND, Ore. — In 1983, a transformational gift from the Chiles Foundation led to the dedication of the Earle A. and Virginia H. Chiles Center on the University of Portland (UP) campus.
In its nearly 40-year history, the Chiles Center has become not only the athletic and cultural center for campus life at UP, but has become a beacon for cultural, educational, spiritual, and civic events both in the City of Portland and the Pacific Northwest.
To ensure that continued legacy, the Chiles Foundation has announced a $5 million dollar gift to the University of Portland to support short- and long-term building improvements and maintenance for the Chiles Center. Earle M. Chiles, who served on UP’s Board of Regents for over 40 years, was a fixture at the Chiles Center until his passing in 2016.
“We are pleased to continue our long-standing support of the University of Portland,” Chiles Foundation President Ken Menges said. “The Earle A. and Virginia H. Chiles Center has become such an important part of both the UP and North Portland communities, and we believe this gift will help sustain the building, and its impact, for many years into the future.”
“This gift continues four decades of support from the Chiles Foundation to the University of Portland,” UP President Dr. Robert D. Kelly said. “The support of Earle Chiles and the Chiles Foundation has been transformational for our University, and this contribution further increases the Foundation’s impact on The Bluff and beyond.”
The Chiles Center is home to UP basketball, volleyball, and indoor track & field competitions, in addition to Department Offices, Sports Medicine, Sports Performance and Student-Athlete Development/Academic Support.
“Simply put, UP Athletics would not be where it is today without Earle Chiles and the Chiles Foundation,” UP Vice President for Athletics Scott Leykam said. “This gift will not only have an impact on all of our student-athletes, coaches, and staff, but for all who come through the doors of the Chiles Center.”
Construction on the Chiles Center officially began May 18, 1983, and the Chiles Center opened in October 1984 with a seating capacity of 4,852. President Ronald Reagan headlined the arena’s first event with a speech on Oct. 23, 1984, only three days after the dome’s dedication. The first athletic contest was held on Nov. 24, 1984 with the Pilot men’s basketball team defeating the University of the Pacific, 73-61. The friendly confines of the Chiles Center have also been graced by the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu, Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, Jane Goodall, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and countless University/high school graduations, baccalaureate and orientation masses, concerts, cultural events, and lectures.
The newest addition to the arena’s schedule will begin this November, as the Portland Trail Blazers’ G-League franchise, the Rip City Remix, will call the Chiles Center home. This is in addition to the Oregon School Activities Association’s (OSAA) 6A Boys and Girls Basketball Championships that are held every March on The Bluff.
University of Portland is an independently governed Catholic university guided by the Congregation of Holy Cross; with a mission focusing on teaching and learning, faith and formation, and service and leadership. It is the only school in Oregon to offer a College of Arts & Sciences, a graduate school, and nationally accredited programs in the schools of business, education, engineering and nursing.  University of Portland is consistently a top-ranked school among colleges and universities in the American West. University of Portland athletics is a member of the West Coast Conference and competes at the NCAA Division I level in the following varsity sports: baseball (M), basketball (MW), cross country (MW), rowing (W), soccer (MW), tennis (MW), indoor and outdoor track and field (MW), and indoor and beach volleyball (W).