Saint Martin’s to bear new name: Saint Martin’s University

Feb. 14, 2005

Lacey, Wash. - The Saint Martin’s College board of trustees and the Saint Martin’s College Corporation have approved changing the name of Saint Martin’s College. Effective Aug. 8, Saint Martin’s will officially bear the name “Saint Martin’s University.”

College President David R. Spangler, Ph.D., said the new name will more accurately reflect the institution and its programs.

“We feel the new name will help Saint Martin’s strengthen its outreach by distinctly defining what it is - and what it has been for some time - to the public, potential students, businesses, schools, organizations and donors. It will place Saint Martin’s in a stronger position to fulfill its mission.”

In citing other reasons for the change, he said the use of “university” will eliminate increasing confusion between Saint Martin’s and a growing number of community colleges that have dropped the name “community” from their names. He said he also expects the new moniker to give Saint Martin’s graduates a more competitive standing in the marketplace and help attract prospective students to Saint Martin’s. Finally, he said, it will lessen confusion in the international arena, where two-year institutions generally are known as “colleges” and four-year institutions as “universities.”

“We have expanding ties with students and institutions from other countries, particularly in the Pacific Rim nations, and with a goal to build more international relationships, we think Saint Martin’s will benefit from the name-change,” he said.

The college’s board of trustees voted on the new name at its Jan. 25 meeting. The college corporation voted on the name change at a Feb. 11 meeting.

Board chair Mary Gentry said that while Saint Martin’s has long been listed under the Carnegie Foundation’s classification system as a “master’s comprehensive university,” the changeover became an articulated goal in 2001, when the board wrote a vision statement to help direct the college’s future development.

“While board members are happy to see the fruition of one of its major goals, we also think the new name symbolically captures something of the energy and vitality at Saint Martin’s these days,” she said. “The student body is expanding and becoming very diverse, Spangler Hall -- the new residence hall opening next year - is expected enrich residential life on campus and planning for a new science and engineering building is underway.”

Spangler said that while Saint Martin’s will become a university, its mission, its focus on teaching and its character will remain unaltered.

“Our alumni, friends and many people in the community have known Saint Martin’s as an exceptional place. We’re changing the name, but we will continue to keep our commitment to providing an excellent education firmly rooted in the Benedictine, Catholic tradition that has served our students so well,” he said. “While we intend to grow, we also will remain relatively small so that we can preserve the sense of close-knit community, hospitality and respect for the individual Saint Martin’s is known for.”

Spangler said the timing of the official changeover, Aug. 8, will coincide with the beginning of the 2005-06 academic year, when the college’s extension campuses at Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base begin the first of five terms. The timing also will generally coincide with other major changes at Saint Martin’s, chiefly a new president who will replace Spangler, who is retiring June 30, and the opening of the new Spangler Residence Hall on campus.

A celebration of the landmark occasion will occur on Aug. 30, when classes begin at Saint Martin’s main campus in Lacey and students are able to take part in the festivities. December 2005 and May 2006 graduates will be the first with diplomas bearing Saint Martin’s new name.

Opened on Sept. 11, 1895, by monks of the Order of Saint Benedict, Saint Martin’s College currently serves about 1,100 students at its main campus and about 600 more at its Fort Lewis, McChord and Olympic College extension campuses. Its name honors Saint Martin of Tours, a fourth-century monk who greatly inspired others through his faith, charity, humility and simple lifestyle. Saint Martin’s now offers undergraduate academic programs in 22 majors and graduate programs in six.

Deanna Partlow
Office of Communication