Closure Resolution – Approved by Board of Trustees on May 16, 2018

Marylhurst University announced in May 2018 that the university would close by the end of the year; the last classes were offered summer term 2018. With the exception of the forthcoming announcement of the custodian institution, this website is no longer actively maintained; the information presented here is for archival purposes.

Resolution to Close Marylhurst University and Begin Transition Planning for Students, Faculty and Staff

WHEREAS the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary founded Marylhurst nearly 125 years ago with a mission to provide a Catholic, post-secondary liberal arts education to students of all faiths, and with an emphasis on educating ethical leaders of competence, conscience and compassion who will work to create a more just, humane and sustainable world; and

WHEREAS Marylhurst University has fulfilled its mission as Oregon’s oldest Catholic university and the first liberal arts college for women established in the Northwest; and

WHEREAS Marylhurst University today is governed by the Board of Trustees, which oversees all aspects of the University and which represents the interests of Marylhurst’s stakeholders and community; and

WHEREAS national trends in higher education show that the number of students attending college has decreased, while the capacity of colleges and universities has remained substantially greater than the demand from prospective students; and

WHEREAS many smaller Catholic institutions have seen challenges in attracting students, and students increasingly prefer urban campuses over those in suburban locations or without comprehensive public transit options; and

WHEREAS Marylhurst University has seen a significant decline in student enrollment in the past eight years, resulting in declining tuition revenue and financial challenges; and

WHEREAS Marylhurst University has been financially unable to significantly redress deferred maintenance on campus for several decades; and

WHEREAS the University has limited control of the underlying physical property, and does not have rights to sell property to ameliorate its financial distress; and

WHEREAS in 2013, the Board of Trustees implemented a Plan for Financial Stability to address declines in tuition revenue and related reductions in campus expenditures, including a large reduction in campus personnel and a suspension of employee retirement funds; and

WHEREAS in 2015, the Board of Trustees unanimously adopted a Strategic Plan for Revitalization and Growth, focusing on the development of a plan to sharpen undergraduate revenue and to rebuild the School of Business, again to address enrollment and financial issues; and

WHEREAS the Board of Trustees unanimously adopted in June 2017 the University leadership’s Renewed Vision for Marylhurst University, which outlined a plan for growing enrollment, connecting with community, and bringing external partner organizations to campus; and

WHEREAS the Board of Trustees and University leadership have been diligent and comprehensive in attempting to remedy enrollment and related financial challenges, undertaking continuous monitoring, adjusting academic programming, pausing the construction of the Villa Maria residence hall and creating new partnerships to drive student demand and additional initiatives; and

WHEREAS these mechanisms and other initiatives have increased auxiliary and events revenue, but enrollment – along with student credit hours – have continued to decline; and

WHEREAS enrollment projections continue to predict that enrollment will not grow in the majority of degree programs, and further decline is projected in other programs due to external market demands; and

WHEREAS it is imperative that enrollment be sufficient to sustain operations and ensure a high-quality educational experience and services for students, faculty and staff; and

WHEREAS the Board of Trustees, tasked with ensuring the University remains financially viable to protect students, staff, faculty and alumni, has concluded the only responsible course of action is to cease the academic mission at Marylhurst;

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, Marylhurst University will close by the end of 2018; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED the University will immediately begin providing support to our students, faculty and staff to plan a transition to continue to pursue their educational and professional goals; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the University will return the Marylhurst property to the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary as required by the Reversionary Clause in Marylhurst University’s deed, who will make future plans for the property in alignment with their mission and values.

Adopted by the Marylhurst University Board of Trustees: May 16, 2018.