Education

Saint Martin’s will serve as custodian for shuttered Oregon university

2018 Saint Martin’s University Commencement

In this May 2018 file video, over 300 graduates participate in Saint Martin's University's commencement. Saint Martin’s has agreed to serve as the custodial institution for Marylhurst University, a private school in Oregon that closed this year.
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In this May 2018 file video, over 300 graduates participate in Saint Martin's University's commencement. Saint Martin’s has agreed to serve as the custodial institution for Marylhurst University, a private school in Oregon that closed this year.

Saint Martin’s University has stepped up to take on some responsibilities from a Catholic university in Oregon that closed this year.

Leaders at Marylhurst University, a private school near Lake Oswego, Oregon, announced in May it would close this year following years of declining enrollment and mounting financial problems. Its last classes were offered over the summer term.

A consultant working with Marylhurst on its closing recommended enlisting Saint Martin’s as a so-called custodial institution, according to Genevieve Canceko Chan, Saint Martin’s vice president of marketing and communications. Officials from the two schools met over the summer and the deal was finalized this fall.

“We wanted to be helpful. We saw another Catholic institution unfortunately have to close its doors, and we wanted to support their alumni in this difficult process,” she said.

Under the deal, Saint Martin’s will maintain Marylhurst’s records and communication with its more than 12,000 living alumni. In return, Marylhurst will transfer $3.14 million of its endowment to Saint Martin’s. Officials say that will generate more than $100,000 a year in scholarships for Saint Martin’s students starting in 2019.

Saint Martin’s is set to start filling transcript requests from Marylhurst alumni on Monday. It plans to create a liaison position to handle these requests and alumni relations.

Marylhurst started as St. Mary’s Academy and College in 1893 in Portland and moved to a campus near Lake Oswego in 1930. It was a women’s college until 1974, when it became co-ed and also started serving older students looking to complete their degrees.

Enrollment fell sharply in recent years. As of fall 2017, it had about 740 students, down from 1,400 four years before that, and the decision was made to close.

In November, the school sold off its assets. The campus, a 50-acre property, will be returned to the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, an order of Catholic nuns.

Abby Spegman: 360-704-6869
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