Saint Martin's is now a university

August 8, 2005

Lacey, Wash. - Saint Martin’s College officially changed its name to Saint Martin’s University Monday, Aug. 8. A celebration of the landmark occasion will occur 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.

The decision to change Saint Martin’s name to more accurately reflect the institution and its programs was approved in February by the institution’s board of trustees and the Saint Martin’s College Corporation.

The new moniker puts Saint Martin’s in a stronger position to fulfill its mission – “To know, to care, to serve – to educate …”. It is expected to eliminate increasing confusion between the four-year institution and a growing number of community colleges that have dropped “community” from their names. It also will clarify Saint Martin’s identity in the international arena, where four-year institutions are known as “universities.” The changeover was made in response to a goal articulated in a 2001 vision statement by the board of trustees, said board chair Mary Gentry. She noted that Saint Martin’s has long been listed under the Carnegie Foundation’s classification system as a “master’s comprehensive university” because of its range of undergraduate and graduate programs.

Established by monks of the Roman Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, Saint Martin's College opened its doors Sept. 11, 1895, to a single student, Angus McDonald of Shelton. As with other 19th century American Benedictine schools, the new college enrolled mostly boys and young men between the ages of 10 and 20 and taught a curriculum of preparatory and high school classes, plus classical and commercial college courses. Saint Martin's became a four-year, accredited, baccalaureate-granting institution in 1938, and went coeducational in 1965. Saint Martin’s High School was closed in 1974, due to declining enrollment.

Saint Martin’s expects about 1,200 students to enroll for the 2005-06 academic year at its main campus and about 600 more at its extension campuses at Fort Lewis, McChord and Olympic College. Saint Martin’s now offers undergraduate academic programs in 22 majors and graduate programs in six.

Douglas M. Astolfi, Ph.D.

Deanna Partlow
media relations coordinator