I graduated from Marylhurst University (then College) in 1997 with a BFA. The three years I spent there were truly some of the best of my life. Most Marylhurst students were “adult learners”, i.e. many years separated high school and either going back to school or matriculating for the first time. Respect for one’s life’s experiences, consideration of other important aspects of one’s life, and an open-minded, flexible approach to pre-existing interests and functional choices were all part of what made the student experience at Marylhurst so wonderful. As a 40 year old with the goal of acquiring a degree, Marylhurst offered all I could hope for. And, as luck would have it, it was even better than I’d imagined.
One of the beneficial aspects of truly terrible university policies for educators is that students at many small and/or public colleges gain access to some of the most amazing teachers around who would have had, in prior years, secure positions at a single institution. It’s hard to say whether the best part of my educational experience was my exposure to great teachers or equally great students. In either case, I made great and lasting friendships with both. Upon graduation, I had a group of peers who were well known respected within the Portland art community.
I am always proud to say I graduated from Marylhurst; given that I’d attended two of the most prestigious art schools in the nation, the New York Studio School and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston) add context to my pride and pleasure. The idea of team spirit at Marylhurst can only bring a wry smile to one’s lips; the once functional gymnasium at the Catholic women’s college has been the school’s art gallery for a long time now. Even so, I till want to give a big cheer: Go Marylhurst!!