Our Own University: Marylhurst

Technically, Marylhurst University is located in Marylhurst, Oregon:  until a few minutes ago I had never heard of such a town! Actually, Marylhurst University is sandwiched exactly between Lake Oswego and West Linn on the banks of the Willamette River.  Founded in 1893 by the Sisters of Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, it is one of the oldest liberal arts colleges in the West.  Originally a school for girls, it became co-ed in 1974 and was officially incorporated as an entity separate from the Sisters of Holy Names in 1959.  As a school, it has continued to grow and to gain respect.  In 2003 it was ranked by US News and World Report as a “Best Value”

Today the University offers a traditional classroom curriculum as well as on-line education.  Bachelor of Arts and Science degrees are offered in Art, Interior Design, Business, Communications, English and Writing, Religious Studies, Music, Real Estate, and Science.  Master’s Degrees are offered in Education, Business, Sustainable Business, and Interdisciplinary Studies.  So right here, in the backyard of our town, you can pursue higher education and on-going education.  I see this as a real asset to our community.  It makes education easier to obtain when it is nearby, and for our town, it adds many benefits.

Mary’s Woods
Along with the University, there is a retirement community known as Mary’s Woods. Offering all levels of assistance from independent living to extensive care, this retirement community is well regarded. And being attached to the University, it offers many opportunities for retired folks who want to take classes and to remain active.

The Christie School
The Christie School was founded in 1953 and is Oregon’s oldest and largest residential treatment center for emotionally disturbed children. The program serves the needs of about 80 kids at any given time. It helps children 8-18 years of age who are coping with any number of needs from depression issues to over-coming abuse. It’s roots go back to the original school, St. Mary’s Home for Girls, which was founded to house and to educate orphaned and abandoned girls.

And then there was the battle with the KKK
One of the more interesting bits of trivia surrounding Maryhurst was the landmark court case known as “Pierce v. Society of Sisters” from 1925. Back in the 1920’s the KKK was pretty strong in Oregon and had a good deal of influence in Oregon politics, including with the Governor of the State, Walter Pierce. The KKK, in concert with the Oregon Scottish Rite Masons, wanted to make public education mandatory, thereby ending access to private education. The Sisters boycotted businesses that supported the KKK and challenged the KKK in court. The 1925 case, decided unanimously by the United States Supreme Court, ruled in favor of the Sisters. The court case ruled that while states may compel attendance at some school, the parents have the constitutional right to choose between public and private schools. The ruling was a legal precedent for our country that has effected court rulings across the United States ever since.

Marylhurst is just one more reason I like living in Lake Oswego. It is a wonderful resource, on so many levels.