Marylhurst University

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Marylhurst University
Former names
St. Mary's Academy and College
Marylhurst College
Motto Cor Sapientis Quaerit Doctrinam (Latin)
The heart of the wise seeks knowledge
Established 1893
Type Private
Affiliation Roman Catholic
(Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary)
Endowment $12.1 million[1]
President Dr. Melody Rose
Academic staff
Students 1,273
Undergraduates 696[2]
Postgraduates 577[2]
Location Marylhurst, Oregon, USA
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Campus Suburban
63 acres (250,000 m2)
Colors Gold      and      Royal blue[3]

Marylhurst University is a private, coeducational Roman Catholic liberal arts university located in Marylhurst, Oregon, United States, nine miles (14 km) south of Portland on the Willamette River. It is among the oldest collegiate degree-granting institutions in Oregon, awarding its first degree in 1897, and operates within the Archdiocese of Portland. Marylhurst was founded originally as St. Mary's College and run for many years by the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. The university offers bachelor's degrees in twenty-one fields, and graduate degrees in fourteen fields. After its establishment in 1893, Marylhurst became the first women's liberal arts college in the Pacific Northwest.


The Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, a Roman Catholic religious teaching congregation, arrived in Oregon in 1859.[3] The Sisters came to Oregon from Montreal at the request of the people and clergy of the city to serve their educational needs, and established St. Mary's Academy that year.[4]

St. Mary's College

In 1893, the group started St. Mary's Academy and College[4] as the first liberal arts college to serve the educational needs of Pacific Northwest women. The school was originally located in downtown Portland, Oregon, where St. Mary's Academy is still located.[3] The Sisters purchased 63 acres (250,000 m2) between Lake Oswego and West Linn in 1908. The Sisters named the pastoral land Marylhurst, which means "Mary's Woods". The college was moved to the new property in 1930, and St. Mary's was renamed Marylhurst College.[4] The following year, the school received its first accreditation from the Northwest Association of Secondary and Higher Schools.[5]

Marylhurst College

File:Marylhurst college bell tower P2584.jpeg
The BP John building at the effective center of campus

In 1959, Marylhurst College became an independent institution and formed a Board of Trustees, separate from the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. In 1974 the college transitioned to a co-educational institution and the first liberal arts college in the United States to be designated as a college for lifelong learning.

Marylhurst began the Master of Art Therapy program in 1986, the only accredited art therapy program in the Pacific Northwest. The American Art Therapy Association has reviewed the program positively numerous times including 1991, 1996 and 2002.[6]

In 1990, Marylhurst inaugurated its Master of Business Administration program while a concentration in interior design was added to Marylhurst's art program. In 2002, the University began to offer a BFA in interior design.

Beginning in 1996, US News & World Report's Guide to America's Best Colleges recognized Marylhurst as the best value in higher education among Western regional colleges and universities. The University has remained in the top tier for the Western Region in the US News & World Report college rankings since the mid-1990s.[7]

Marylhurst University

In 1998, Marylhurst College became Marylhurst University, Clackamas County's first university. Several new academic programs were added including a Master of Arts in Applied Theology program, a Bachelor of Music Therapy program, and a cooperative Doctor of Ministry degree program with San Francisco Theological Seminary. Beginning in 2003, Marylhurst University began being ranked as a "Best Value" in the 2003 US News & World Report college guide.

It was placed among the Best Universities - Master's (Western Region) in US News & World Report's Best Colleges 2005, but is currently (2014) unranked. Marylhurst University was placed among the 50 Best Business Schools in Finance by the Princeton Review in 2008. Judith Johansen was named president of the university in 2008, and left in 2013.[8] In October 2009, the Portland Business Journal ranked the Marylhurst MBA #1 in total enrollment having the largest MBA program in Oregon.[9]


In addition to undergraduate and graduate degrees, Marylhurst has a dual enrollment agreement with Portland Community College.[10]

The Art Gym

The Art Gym is a contemporary arts exhibition space located on campus. It was the brainchild of Kay Slusarenko, who was the art department chair for 20 years, from 1978 to 1998. With contemporaries Terri Hopkins and Paul Sutinen, she rallied the student body and community support to turn the unused gym into the cultural center that it is now. Each spring the gym displays the year's thesis projects. Since 1980, over 300 artists have shown their work at the gym.[11]

Oregon Sesquicentennial Film Festival

The Oregon Sesquicentennial Film Festival was held at Marylhurst University May 1-10, 2009.[12] The festival was a celebration of the history of Oregon film making. For the festival a 35mm projection booth was constructed on campus in the Villa Maria building. The opening night of the festival was at the Mission Theater with an on stage conversation between James Ivory and Gus Van Sant.[13][14] The films shown at Marylhurst included Smoke Signals with director Chris Eyre in person; Marked Woman featuring Mayo Methot; Talk Radio with writer Tad Savinar in person; The Lusty Men (set in and partially shot at the Pendleton Round-up); City Girl by F.W. Murnau, shot on location in Athena, Oregon (with a score composed by John Paul[15] and performed by a string quartet; A Soldier's Tale by Penny Allen, and James Ivory's first international hit film Shakespeare Wallah, with James Ivory in person. The special Oregon Cartoon Institute day at the festival featured Bill Plympton.[16][17]


Although Marylhurst is traditionally recognized as a Catholic university, less than a quarter of the current students are Catholic. Religious observances are not required, and 32 different faiths are represented in the student body.[18]

Notable alumni


  1. America's Best Colleges 2008. "Christian Brothers University." U.S. News & World Report. Accessed October 1, 2007.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Fast Facts". Retrieved 2015-09-27.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Marylhurst College". Student's Encyclopædia. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Retrieved 2009-04-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Songe, Alice H. (1978). American Universities and Colleges: A Dictionary of Name Changes. Scarecrow Press. p. 116.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. NWCCU Institutions of Oregon
  6. "American Art Therapy Association". 2013-10-31. Retrieved 2014-01-29.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Best Colleges | College Rankings | US News Education". Retrieved 2014-01-29.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Kish, Matthew (August 28, 2013). "Marylhurst President Judith Johansen resigns". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved 31 August 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Portland Business Journal, 11/16/2009,
  10. "PCC, PSU renew co-admission agreement". Portland Business Journal. January 23, 201. Retrieved 4 February 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Phinney/Bischoff Design House. "The Art Gym • Marylhurst University". Retrieved 2014-01-29.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. retrieved January 23, 2015
  13. retrieved January 23, 2015l
  14. "Review: The Beaver State's film heritage: The Oregon sesquicentennial film festival".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. retrieved 29 October 2014
  16. retrieved January 23, 2015
  17. retrieved 29 October 2014
  18. "Best Colleges | College Rankings | US News Education". Retrieved 2014-01-29.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "Governor Barbara Roberts". Oregon Historical Society.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "Mary F Sammons". Forbes.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Media related to Marylhurst University at Wikimedia Commons