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Marylhurst sale hits the bricks

Second sales effort in 80 years tries to put the 'fun' in fundraising
by: Cliff Newell, 
Marylhurst University development administrators aren’t following the Yellow Brick Road. They are promoting the school’s Buy A Brick Campaign. The directors are, from left, David Dickson, Sandy Pittenger and Sandy Marron.

Does Marylhurst University have a brick for you!

In fact, 10,000 bricks of them. Enough to push the university's $25 million Renaissance fundraising campaign to a successful conclusion.

Certainly, Marylhurst officials could not have raised all of that money just by selling bricks. In fact, the campaign has utilized a relatively short list of generous donors to reach its goal.

'Selling bricks is not the most efficient way to raise money,' admitted David Dickson, MU's vice president for development. 'But it's one of the most fun ways.

'This is our second brick campaign in 80 years. We figured it was time for another one.'

It's true that most people can't fork over a $10,000 donation. But they can buy a brick for $100 (or if they are really inspired, a bench for $500 or a lamp post for $2,500). A brick is a fine way to memorialize a loved one and also pave the way to the future for a university that is making tremendous strides.

People are already lining up to buy a brick: Faculty members, staff, administrators, and alumni. Even Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, founders of the school, have found a way to hustle up $100.

'They're doing it even though they've taken a vow of poverty,' said Sandy Marron, director of development.

Students are pitching in, too, even one young lady who won't graduate until 2012.

Dickson said, 'She said, 'I know this is premature, but I just love this place.' '

For many, buying a brick or bench is a sentimental journey, memorializing a mother (with Mother's Day coming May 11), grandmother or friend with Marylhurst connections.

'We got a call from a woman whose daughter was cared for by a Sister,' said Sandy Pittenger, assistant to the vice president for development. 'She wanted to buy a brick for her.'

Perhaps the best story associated with this brick drive concerns a fetching photo of two little girls with a wheelbarrow full of bricks that appeared in a newspaper when the first Marylhurst brick buying campaign was held in 1930. Those adorable girls were named Margaret Mayer Uffelman and Donna Jean Ash, and the bricks they were selling cost 25 cents each.

That photo was used in the Marylhurst On The Move newspaper to promote the 2008 campaign, and it was spotted by the daughters of those girls - Gwenda Jean White McCall (Ash) and Johanne Samek (Uffelman), both alumni of Marylhurst.

'We're going to buy them a complimentary brick,' Dickson said.

On many brick sale campaigns, memorials are inscribed right on the bricks. But instead of having that large hassle, Marylhurst will erect a monument and inscribe the names of all people contributing to the campaign.

'Engraved bricks can get worn down and dirty,' Marron said. 'This monument will be placed by our library.'

The monument will be unveiled on Oct. 18, the day that concludes the school's homecoming week celebration.

And one more thing: The photo of the two little girls will be etched on the monument

The campaign will conclude on June 30, which also happens to be the final day in office for Marylhurst University's president Nancy Wilgenbusch.

For more information about Marylhurst University's Buy A Brick campaign, call Sandy Pittenger at 503-699-6251.