Saint Martin’s to serve as the custodial institution for Marylhurst University


Emma Dobbs, Staff Writer


Marylhurst University has partnered with Saint Martin’s University to retain its legacy after officially closing its doors this past year. Marylhurst University of Marylhurst, Ore. announced its imminent closure in May of 2018. Following a steady decline in enrollment, Marylhurst’s board of trustees voted to close the university by the end of 2018. After officials from both universities met in the summer, it was decided that Saint Martin’s would house records and transcripts from the closed university, as well as welcome university alumni into the Saint Martin’s community.

Marylhurst saw a steady decline in enrollment since the 2013-14 school year. That year, 1,409 students enrolled at the university. Enrollment had fallen to below 800 students by the 2017-18 school year, and was expected to continue to decline.

Established in 1893 in Portland, Ore., Marylhurst University began as St Mary’s Academy and College. The school relocated to Marylhurst in 1930, and provided higher education to young women. The school became co-educational in 1974, and became a university in 1998. Marylhurst continued to expand and added master’s degrees and online degree programs the same year it became a university. For 125 years, Marylhurst provided opportunities for all people to pursue higher education, and has more than 12,000 alumni living today.

Marylhurst received regional accreditation from the Northwest Commission on College and Universities (NWCCU) in 1977. In accordance with its mission statement, Marylhurst sought to provide accessible higher learning to students of all ages, religions, and race. The University upheld and respected the values of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, which includes respecting all people and promoting peace.  

Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, an international Catholic community of sisters, established St. Mary’s Academy and College in 1859. Leaving their home in Quebec, twelve Sisters established St. Mary’s Academy in Portland, Ore., that would later become Marylhurst. In consideration of the history of their establishment, the university will return the fifty-acre property that served as campus grounds to the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. This group will determine the future use of the property, in alignment with their mission.

In November of 2018, Marylhurst sold its classroom and teaching assets. The Art Gym at Marylhurst University, a nationally recognized art exhibition venue, was initially planned to move to the Oregon College of Art and Craft. The plan for the Oregon College of Art and Craft to adopt the program mutually ended in September of 2018. On Dec. 28 of 2018, the Portland Art Museum announced it would house the program in the new year.

Saint Martin’s University will receive a $3.14 million endowment as part of their agreement with Marylhurst University. This endowment will be used to generate over $100,000 in yearly scholarships for future students of Saint Martin’s University.

In accordance with the Benedictine values of community and hospitality, Saint Martin’s has welcomed in alumni of Marylhurst through an alumni opt-in program. This program will allow Marylhurst alumni to connect with other alumni and stay informed of information and events.

Following the announcement that Marylhurst would close in 2018, several universities stepped in to ensure enrolled students would find a new institution to attend. Marylhurst provided advising information and hosted an on-campus college fair to help students make the transition to a new university. Saint Martin’s University had representatives present at the college fair, and encouraged students to join our campus along with the Marylhurst legacy.

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