With most students wanting to continue studying music therapy, Pacific will be making building renovations.

PAMPLIN MEDIA FILE PHOTO - After Marylhurst University announced earlier this year it would not continue operations in the 2018-19 academic year, other area schools, including Pacific University in Forest Grove, are seeing a bump in students transferring from Marylhurst.After Marylhurst University announced it would be closing its doors at the end of the year, private schools around Oregon figured they would likely be on the receiving end of transfer students from the closing university. But making facility changes to accommodate the additional students may not have been on the agenda.

Pacific University is expecting 23 transfer students this fall, 21 of whom are pursuing a degree in music therapy.

Pacific's undergraduate music therapy program is relatively new, launching just four years ago, and the number of students involved has been pretty few — that is, until now.

With Marylhurst closing, Pacific now has the only music therapy program in the state, and one of just four along the West Coast, leaving those students few options for transferring without having to change their major.

"The arrival of Marylhurst transfers is expected to bump Pacific's student enrollment of music majors and minors past 100 for the first time, up from approximately 30 just a decade ago," said Pacific spokesman Joe Lang. "Accredited by the American Music Therapy Association, Pacific's intense five-year program includes coursework in music, as well as psychology, neuroscience, anatomy, and healthcare ethics and philosophy. The final year of the program is spent completing the required clinical hours under the supervision of a board-certified music therapist."

COURTESY PHOTO: TROY LINDELL - Pacific University is adding more than 20 students who had been attending now-shuttered Marylhurst University into Boxer Nation this school year.With the acceptance of these transfer students will now come some necessary facility changes to accommodate for the growth, Lang said.

The Taylor-Meade Performing Arts Center, the music department's main facility, will be renovated this summer, with added classrooms and practice rooms ready for students by the start of fall term. The university will be leasing off-campus space to be used as practice facilities for students as well, Lang said.

"Marylhurst's decision to close is very unfortunate, and we hope all students transferring from there find a program that aligns with their values and desired outcomes, whereever that program may be," Lang said. "We welcome aspiring students of all backgrounds and circumstances, and are particulary sensitive to the needs of those who have already invested time and resources into a specific area of education and career path. ... Our entire university community benefits from insights and experiences that all new students bring to Pacific."

By Mark Miller
Editor, Forest Grove News-Times
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