An historical overview of Saint Martin's University
Established in 1895, Saint Martin’s University is a four-year,
coeducational Catholic university located in Lacey, Washington. One of
18 Benedictine colleges and universities in the United States and the
only one west of the Rocky Mountains, the University offers education to
both traditional and non-traditional students.
The University stands proudly rooted in its unique Benedictine heritage.
The monks of St. Martin’s Abbey founded the institution and
today remain actively engaged in the life of the campus. The Benedictine
monks belong to the oldest monastic order in western civilization, with
1,500 years of tradition behind them. Over the centuries, their long
record of scholarship and achievement — as teachers, artists and
protectors of culture — have made the Benedictines well-suited to
Saint Martin’s began as a school educating boys and young men in college
preparatory classes. College-level classes were added in 1900. During
the Great Depression, the school eliminated its grammar school and
developed its high school and college programs. In 1938, its four-year
baccalaureate program was accredited; two years later, its first
graduates received their degrees.
After World War II, hundreds of veterans arrived at the College to
pursue their educations under the G.I. Bill. To meet the needs of these
students, Saint Martin’s augmented its liberal arts curriculum by adding
programs in accounting, business and engineering.
In 1965, well ahead of many Catholic colleges and universities in the
United States, Saint Martin’s became coeducational. In 1972, the College
began serving the needs of part-time adult students with the
establishment of extension programs at nearby Fort Lewis Army Post and
McChord Air Force Base. In the 1980s, Saint Martin’s added graduate
courses. Under the leadership of President John Ishii, Ph.D. the
Institute for Pacific Rim Studies was created and has since evolved into
the University’s well-respected Center for International Programs.
The O’Grady Library opened in 2001, providing the College with a
much-needed resource. Designed by world-renowned architect Michael
Graves, the library became the signature building on the campus. In
2005, the College became a University; opened a new residence hall,
named in honor of president emeritus, David R. Spangler, Ph.D.; and in
2006 Saint Martin’s inaugurated its eighth president.
This year brought many changes to the campus: the opening of the
University’s fourth residence, Parsons Hall, named for long-time Saint
Martin’s supporters Ken F. Sr. and Gale L. Parsons; the opening of
Harned Hall, a state-of-the-art academic building, honoring H.C. “Joe”
Harned; groundbreaking of the Recreation and Fitness Center which is
slated for completion in Fall 2009; naming of new President Roy F.
Heynderickx, Ph.D.; as well as the dedication of a world-class track and
field facility and the Jan Halliday ’89 Memorial Plaza.
The values of the University: love of learning, integrity, community,
hospitality and stewardship are all rooted in the Benedictine heritage
and are all central to life at Saint Martin’s.
The University has successfully navigated the educational climate for
more than 114 years, and as it progresses in the 21st century, it will