University Vision

Adopted by the Board of Trustees on June 5, 2017

For 124 years, Marylhurst University has been steeped in the educational values of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary.  As one of the oldest universities on the west coast, originally founded to educate women in the liberal arts, Marylhurst University has been guided by the Holy Names values of academic excellence, educating the whole person, social justice, ethical leadership and service.

The Sisters have shown remarkable vision, faith and courage in the founding of Marylhurst, the building of the college, and in the ways they have innovated to meet the changing needs of education and of the students served. Now is a renewed time for vision, faith and courage as Marylhurst University again adapts and innovates to serve our region.


Marylhurst is an ACADEMIC and CULTURAL HUB

Marylhurst University


Marylhurst is a TOP institution in the region fully focused on graduate and professional studies for savvy, motivated, career-focused students who have the courage to go back to school and the grit to thrive in rigorous academic programs.

  Graduate programs are low residency, providing access to students who work full time or live beyond the Portland metro region.

  Undergraduate programs are 100% focused on degree completion, helping those with some college credit but no degree cross that graduation finish line. All undergrad programs feed efficiently into graduate programs, making advanced degrees more attainable and accessible.

  All programs are connected to industry needs and incorporate professional development.

  Student support services are 100% focused on the needs of the student – because everything should be easy BUT the classes.

Marylhurst University


Marylhurst University’s campus is a thriving hub for cultural, artistic and professional enrichment.  Revitalized academic spaces provide performance venues for a broad range of arts and cultural institutions; leased office space houses some of these institutions, creating opportunities for shared resources and unique collaborations.

  Year-round enrichment offerings are attended by campus and community members, including workshops, conferences, lectures and non-credit courses.  Marylhurst becomes the “Chautauqua Institute” of the west.

  This vision for our campus brings together the external needs of the region and the internal needs of our academic programs in a way that is mutually reinforcing and vibrant. Auxiliary revenue generated by a fully activated campus is what supports our academic programs.

 View our upcoming art, music and cultural events held at or hosted by Marylhurst University.


We have faith in the strong foundation laid by our foundresses and the academic traditions they have created. We have faith in our Trustees, faculty, staff, alumni, donors and community that they will step up to help create an institution and campus that will thrive for another 125 years. We have faith that we can make our programs accessible to and attainable by savvy, motivated and career-focused students.  We have faith that two years of rigorous planning (guided by data) have led to a vision that is relevant, sustainable and attainable for Marylhurst University.


Linked together and mutually reinforcing, the strategies for our campus activation and our academic programs are both critical to our success. To undertake the vision in a resource-constrained environment will take courage and perseverance. We must demonstrate that our core business – academics – can be relevant and viable in the current competitive environment. We must create programs that differentiate Marylhurst University in the market and set our students up for success. We will produce exceptional, highly sought after graduates.

Our Students Are Exceptional

Our Academic Portfolio

Marylhurst University’s academic offerings will be developed by identifying degree programs that lie at the intersection of our mission (academic strengths), employer and market need and low barrier to entry (or distinguishing features of an MU degree program).

Marylhurst University


Beyond developing new programs, Marylhurst University will revitalize its current programs by:

  • Investing in full-time faculty in the specific areas of expertise needed to build robust graduate and undergraduate programs
  • Modernizing our program curricula to match the current and future needs of industry/career fields in the region
  • Focusing on best practices in modality and instructional design
  • Revising the Marylhurst Core to incorporate professional skills and support a Marylhurst experience aligned with our mission, vision and faculty expertise
Marylhurst University


Undergraduate programs will be structured to feed into graduate degrees with innovative pathways and streamlined curricula allowing for a smooth transition into Marylhurst’s graduate programs. This will make graduate programs more accessible and attainable to our students, lowering the cost and time to degree.

For example, our English Literature & Writing bachelor’s degree program feeds directly into the M.F.A. in Creative Writing. Or, our bachelor’s degree in psychology is a direct path to our Art Therapy Counseling M.A. or our Mental Heath Counseling master’s degree.

Marylhurst University


  • Critical services located in one campus location and available when students are on campus or accessing classes online
  • A customer service focused admissions process that eliminates barriers to entry
  • Campus life that encourages engagement, connection and uses Marylhurst as a cultural hub
  • Campus events are directly connected to academic programs and highlight Marylhurst’s thought leadership in specific disciplines

Our Students Are Exceptional




Has grit




Tim Briscoe, Business Management, MBA, Class of 2016, 2017, Marylhurst UniversitySTUDENTS JUST LIKE Timothy Briscoe, who began his college experience as an aspiring basketball player with dreams to go far. After an injury ended his sports career, he dropped out of college and worked for a couple of decades in real estate and banking. Inspired by his mother who earned a Master’s degree at the age of 62 and by a desire to further his career, he went back to school. The youngest of nine, he became the first of his siblings to earn not just one, but two degrees. Briscoe hopes to serve as an inspiration for his own children by encouraging them to go to college.



We provide this richness of academic rigor and student life in a hub of cultural, artistic and professional enrichment. Marylhurst is an activated campus dedicated to serving the region through arts, culture, and professional development programming that is integrally tied to our academic expertise and strengths. The  internal needs of the academic community and the external needs of the regional community are mutually reinforcing.

View Our Campus


Between 2015 and 2017, our planning processes began to shape a common direction for the university that builds upon Marylhurst’s legacy of academic excellence and moves the university into a unique category in our region. Professionally focused undergraduate programs that all allow for ease of access to master’s degrees will distinguish us in the Northwest and allow us to maintain our liberal arts focus but in a way that is more relevant to today’s student.

This vision will require dedication and investment to make Marylhurst University both vibrant and sustainable and will propel us into the next 125 years.