Oregon State UniversitySpecial Collections & Archives Research Center

Oregon Multicultural Archives Oral History Collection, 2011-2014

Biographical Note:

Reverend Alcena Elaine Boozer (b.1938), born Alcena Elaine Caldwell on March 19, 1938 was the Rector of the St. Philip the Deacon Parish for 17 years. Alcena grew up in Northeast Portland and was the fifth of six children. She studied education at Portland State University and got married during her last year in 1960. Over the next 14 years she taught Social Studies, was a counselor and eventually appointed Vice Principal at Grant High School. In 1983 she decided to go to Seminary at Church Divinity School of the Pacific. She was one of the first women ordained in the Diocese of Oregon and one of only 3 African American women ordained in the Episcopal Church nationally. In 1993 Alcena Boozer became Rector of St. Philip in Portland, Oregon, the church she grew up in, and retired in 2012.

Carl Deiz (b.1920) born November, 16 1920, has been a prominent member of St. Philip the Deacon Episcopal Church since 1921. Raised in Northeast Portland, Carl graduated from Franklin High School and soon after worked on the railroad as a waiter. In 1942 he was drafted and sent to Montgomery, Alabama. His older brother, who had been drafted two years prior, had already been trained as a Tuskegee Airman. After finishing officer's school in Miami, Carl arrived in Tuskegee and trained as a pilot. Upon not passing his last eye exam he became a supply officer at Tuskegee. He was discharge in 1945 and returned to Portland where he studied Business Administration at the University of Portland on the G.I. Bill. He eventually worked for the Forest Service and Bonneville Power Administration. In 1949 he married Mercedes Deiz, who became the first African American female judge in Oregon. Deiz continues to volunteer his time and effort at St. Philip the Deacon.

Earnel Durden (b. circa 1937) attended OSU from 1955-1959 as a football player and a student studying physical education and science for a teaching degree. He played on the 1957 Rose Bowl team under Coach Tommy Prothro, and in his sophomore year, Durden was selected as "Joe College." He was one of the few, first African American students to attend OSU—prior to OSU having their first African American female student. Due to this, Durden had many experiences dealing with cultural differences in Corvallis regarding a lack of knowledge and interaction with African American people.

Urmila Mali was born in Kathmadu, Nepal, in 1969. She lived in Nepal until her family moved to Tillamook, Oregon, in 1979. There she attended school from fourth grade through high school. After graduating from high school, she chose to go to Oregon State University, following in her sister's footsteps. During her undergrad years, she studied broadcast communication and earned a degree in Masters of Art in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus in anthropology and women's studies. Prior to her current appointment as acting co-director for the Educational Opportunities Program (EOP), Mali held a counseling position within EOP, which involves working with non-traditional students regularly in order to provide academic and personal support.

Norm Monroe (b. 1939) is OSU's first African-American basketball player for the Men's Team. He played during 1960-1961, but left the team half-way through the season. In a brief Barometer article in January of 1961 it states that Monroe left the basketball team in order to focus on Track. That year and the next, he was one of OSU's star Track and Field Athletes.

Jean Moule (b. 1945) received her doctorate in education from OSU in 1998 and began teaching in the College of Education that same year. Specializing in the topic of multicultural issues in education, Moule authored the book Cultural Competence: a Primer for Educators. Prior to her position at OSU, Moule worked for nearly two decades as a teacher and TAG (Talented and Gifted Program) coordinator for several Oregon (K-12) public schools. From 2003 to 2009, Moule served as director of OSU's Master of Arts in Teaching Elementary Education Immersion Program (a program which she initiated). Moule's career as an instructor at OSU has included the teaching of online coursework, primarily the class: "Racial and Cultural Harmony in the K-12 Classroom" since 2002.

Janet Nishihara is a third generation Japanese American who was born in 1959 in Ontario, Oregon. Growing up in the rural town of Veil, Oregon, Nishihara's high school did not provide many academic opportunities. She earned her bachelor's degree in English education from Oregon State University as well as her master's degree. She has held positions at the university such as a graduate teaching assistant, a writing instructor, an academic counselor, supervisor, and the director of the Educational Opportunities Program. Currently, her position is interim associate provost for academic success and engagement and director of advising on campus. Her current duties include: coordinating the work in regards to the first year experience, improving academic advising, and overseeing academic support programs for students.

Karen Olivo (b. 1939) is the widow of Colegio César Chávez student and groundskeeper, Arthur Olivo. Born in Chicago, at age 6 her family moved to Anchorage, Alaska and then to Yakutat, where she lived with the Tlinget indigenous people. In 1977, while living in Sunnyvale, California and attending De Anza Community College, she met Arthur Olivo. Arthur was a teacher for the Center for Employment Training. When he was offered a job in Tigard, Oregon in 1979, Karen and her youngest son Andrew moved from Sunnyvale to Oregon with Arthur. In the Fall of 1980 Arthur enrolled at Colegio César Chávez and was also the college's groundskeeper. Karen, Arthur and Andrew lived on the property of Colegio César Chávez until they were asked to vacate in 1982. Karen has lived in Gervais, Oregon, since 1983. She has volunteered for nearly a decade with the Foster Grandparents organization as a "Grandparent" at the Western Oregon University Day Care Center and the Jensen Arctic Museum.

Andrew Parodi (b.1975) was born in Mountain View, California. He is the son of Karen Olivo and the stepson of Arthur Olivo. He lived at Colegio César Chávez with Karen and Arthur from 1980-1982. He attended Western Oregon University.

Participants in the St. Philip the Deacon Episcopal Church and Urban League of Portland group interview:

  • Herbert Amerson was president of the Board of Directors of the Urban League.
  • Allison Logan Belcher and her family have been members of the church since 1967.
  • Geoffrey Brooks was baptized and raised in the church. He became a public school teacher. His father was the director of the Urban League and his mentors were Joe Nunn's mother and father.
  • Gerry Caldwell (b. 1940) was baptized in St. Philip the Deacon Episcopal Church and was a lifelong member and supporter of the Urban League of Portland. He served for twenty-eight years in the U.S. Army.
  • Myrtle Carr became a member of St. Philips in 1949 and worked with the Urban League for thirty-six years. She served on the Oregon Episcopal Council and on the Vestry.
  • Joe Nunn grew up in the church and served as an altar boy. As an adult he became a public school teacher as his mother, father, and grandfather were before him.

Marilyn Stewart grew up in Marianna, Florida. She began her college experience at the Chiploa Junior College with the goal of becoming an accountant. In the mid-1980s, Stewart joined the military for eight years where she continued taking courses and met her husband. She came to Oregon State in 1989 to earn her bachelor's degree in business and her master's degree in education. She began her work with the Educational Opportunities Program (EOP) at OSU as an office coordinator in 1994 after returning to Benton County. Since then she has held other positions such as executive assistant, office coordinator, operations manager, advisor, and academic counselor. Her current title is acting co-director for EOP.

Antonio Torres was born in Viña del Mar, Chile, in 1949. He received his undergraduate degree in math and chemical engineering at the Catholic University of Chile in Santiago. After being accepted to MIT, Torres moved to the United States and received a master's in food microbiology and a PhD in food engineering. He has been at Oregon State University since 1984 and now holds the position of associate professor of food processing engineering. Several of his job duties include: research, training, and teaching. He has also contributed to creating a scholarship program for students of diversity. With a love of travel, Torres continues to foster international relationships to places such as Mexico, Spain, and Germany while maintaining his career at OSU.

Juan "Tony" Trujillo was born and raised in Tacoma, Washington, in 1964. After earning his bachelor's and master's degrees at Brigham Young University, he went on to receive his PhD in Ibero-Romance Philology and Linguistics from the University of Texas in Austin. He has been a professor at Oregon State University since 1997 as an Assistant Professor in the School of Language and Society at Oregon State University. His job duties include: classroom instruction, scholarship development, and administrative responsibilities. He also helped develop a Difference, Power, and Discrimination course, and the Spanish Learning Community course, which is a 15 credit language-intensive course. Recently, Trujillo has been developing documentaries and writings to both further his career and self-awareness.

Charlie White (b. 1938) transferred to OSU as a junior in 1964 to join the Men's Basketball Team as the first African-American player recruited on scholarship and only the second ever on the team. In his first year he earned the Attitude and Leadership Trophy and was the second highest scoring player for the season. The next season, as team captain, he led the Beavers to the Pacific 8 Conference Championship. In 1967 he became OSU's Assistant to the Freshman Coach.

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