On October 21, 1859, 12 courageous young women disembarked in Portland, Oregon, after a 7,000-mile land and sea voyage from Quebec.
Within days, these dozen members of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary began their educational mission in Oregon. They founded St. Mary’s Academy in downtown Portland.
In 1893 the Sisters were granted a charter by the state of Oregon to confer baccalaureate degrees. The college program, St. Mary’s College, offered the first liberal arts college for women in the Pacific Northwest.
In the early 1900s, after purchasing land south of Portland adjacent to the Willamette River, the Sisters moved their Province Administration and established Marylhurst Normal school, a teacher certification program.
In 1930 the liberal arts college was moved to this location that the Sisters had named Marylhurst. Marylhurst College was born. With a change in Oregon state law in 1950, the Normal School, known at the time as Teachers College at Marylhurst, could be merged with the liberal arts program of Marylhurst College — now Marylhurst University.
Throughout their storied history, the Sisters established a rich heritage of educating the “whole person,” providing a challenging academic experience in an environment where students could grow spiritually and artistically, and cultivate their appreciation for the extraordinary natural beauty of the world.
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