Marylhurst University, which was recently known as Marylhurst College, is Oregon's oldest Catholic University It was also the first college for women in Oregon. There are a number of facts about Marylhurst University mentioned both on their website, and on other places, that while undoubtedly true, don't very well describe the unique position Marylhurst has in Portland's educational scene.
Marylhurst is located in the affluent southwestern suburbs of Portland, Oregon. The students there are mostly older (over 30) professionals who take classes at both the undergraduate and graduate levels in the evenings and on weekends. The University even offers "prior learning credit", giving students credit towards a degree for relevant work or life experience.
The academic programs include standard majors in such subjects as psychology and sociology, as well as such more esoteric subjects as music therapy. It also offers certificates in Conflict Resolution & Mediation and Public Relations. The school also offers Doctors of Divinity. In whatever capacity students are studying, the education has a reputation of being somewhat soft, not in the sense of being easy, but in the sense of often dealing with amorphous theories and talks of paradigm shifts and the like. This is the type of school where talk of Jung, in just about any context, will get you far. Although the school was founded by an order of nuns, it is a mostly independent entity, and while it encourages spiritual belief, it is extremely non-doctrinal, with a variety of faiths and new age beliefs present among the student and faculty.
So this is the brief story of how a Catholic girl's college because a coeducational alternative university stressing new-age approaches to learning for people with professional careers. To fully understand the atmosphere, a visit to the campus, which is very beautiful and serene, would probably be in order. However, despite its strong niche market, it is not a likely drawing factor from students from far away.