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History of Marylhurst University

Marylhurst University was founded in 1893 by the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. We are Oregon's oldest Catholic university, and were the first liberal arts college for women established in the Northwest.

Our founding Sisters believed in educating the whole person through a rigorous liberal arts curriculum. Their mission of serving underserved students continues to inspire us today, as we welcome men and women of all faiths and backgrounds, most of whom are non-traditional students returning to school.

More about the Sisters of the Holy Names

The Marylhurst Timeline

Marylhurst dedicates the Belluschi Pavilion

Marylhurst launches a Professional Development Center in the School of Business

The School of Graduate Studies enrolls the first cohort in the MS in Food Systems & Society program

The Art Gym receives a record $1.25 million challenge grant from the Eichholz Foundation

Marylhurst adds Bachelor of Arts in Media & Film Studies

Marylhurst launches MBA in Real Estate

Marylhurst dedicates its outdoor performance venue, the Lajos Balogh Performance Shell

Marylhurst reorganizes its academic structure into a College of Arts & Sciences, School of Graduate Studies and School of Business

Marylhurst launches Bachelor of Science in Sustainable Business program

Marylhurst receives a $1 million gift to fund student scholarships from the estate of Maybelle Clark Macdonald

The Art Gym celebrates its 30th anniversary

Marylhurst launches MBA in Sustainable Business program

Marylhurst hosts the Oregon Sesquicentennial Film Festival, marking Oregon's 150th year of statehood as well as the 150th anniversary of the Sisters of the Holy Names' arrival in Oregon

Marylhurst establishes the Master of Education program

Marylhurst inaugurates the Master of Arts in Teaching program, approved by the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission

Marylhurst Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design program earns accreditation from the Council for Interior Design Accreditation

Marylhurst launches new accelerated online undergraduate and graduate business degree programs

Marylhurst receives the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning's Institutional Service Award for "outstanding commitment to the expansion of lifelong learning opportunities and for innovative efforts to improve access and quality in academic programs for adult learners"

Marylhurst University is ranked as a "best value" in the 2003 U.S. News & World Report college guide

The International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education recognizes Marylhurst for its MBA, BS in Business and BS in Real Estate Studies programs

Marylhurst begins offering a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design

Marylhurst establishes the Master of Arts in Applied Theology program

Marylhurst inaugurates the Bachelor of Music Therapy program, the only program of its kind in the Northwest accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music and approved by the American Music Therapy Association

Marylhurst College becomes Marylhurst University, Clackamas County's first university

Marylhurst establishes an online degree completion program, and makes bachelor's degree programs in management and organizational communication available online

Marylhurst is one of six institutions in the country – the only one on the West Coast – recognized by the Council on Adult and Experiential Learning for best practices in adult learning

Marylhurst launches a Doctor of Ministry program with San Francisco Theological Seminary

Marylhurst begins offering online courses

Marylhurst establishes the Master of Interdisciplinary Studies program, with concentrations in organizational communication, and spiritual traditions and ethics (a gerontology concentration is added in 1998)

Marylhurst College celebrates its 100th year of academic excellence and installs its online library

Marylhurst inaugurates its Master of Business Administration program

Marylhurst adds a concentration in interior design to the art program

Marylhurst inaugurates the Master of Art Therapy Counseling program, the only accredited art therapy program in the Northwest (the program is approved by the American Art Therapy Association in 1991)

The gymnasium and auditorium in the BP John Administration Building becomes The Art Gym, providing a showcase for Northwest artists

Marylhurst College receives accreditation from the Northwest Association of Secondary and Higher Schools, now known as the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Marylhurst establishes the Prior Learning Assessment program, which provides adult students with the opportunity to earn credit for college-level learning gained through life and work experience

Marylhurst becomes a co-educational institution and the first liberal arts college in the country designated as a college for lifelong learning

Construction of Shoen Library and St. Anne's Chapel is completed

Marylhurst becomes an institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music

Marylhurst College becomes an independent corporation with its own board of trustees, separate from the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary

Marylhurst College earns accreditation from the Northwest Association of Secondary and Higher Schools

St. Mary's College is renamed Marylhurst College and moves to its present location

The first buildings on the new campus – the BP John Administration Building, St. Catherine Hall and Aquinas Hall, all designed by noted local architect Josef Jacobberger – are completed

The Sisters purchase 63 acres between Lake Oswego and West Linn and name the pastoral setting Marylhurst, which means "Mary's Woods"

The Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary found St. Mary's Academy and College in downtown Portland, Oregon as the first liberal arts college to serve the educational needs of Northwest women

The Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary arrive in Oregon to serve the educational needs of the community

Related News

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Jennifer Sasser Published in International Journal

An essay by Dr. Jennifer Sasser, gerontology program director, was published in the International Journal of Reminiscence and Lifelong Learning in January 2015.

Lillieth Grand Published in Spectrums Magazine

Lillieth Grand, music therapy faculty, published an article in the winter 2014 issue of Spectrums Magazine, a regional publication on autism issues.


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January 03, 2015 – March 12, 2015

The Faces of Marylhurst Project

Renowned Northwest artist Dennis Cunningham has an annual tradition – make a self-portrait. In the summer of 2014, Cunningham incorporated a "hig...


February 27, 2015

A Tale of Blatant Neglect

Elders and people with disabilities experience high rates of mental health and chemical dependency problems, yet they remain virtually ignored by m...


March 01, 2015

Submissions for Student Digital Video and Animation Festival now being accepted

The Department of Culture & Media is accepting submissions for the third annual student video competition. Open to active students of Mt. Hood Comm...



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