2013 new student convocation

inWords Archive


From theory to practice. Alexander, Olga and Alex Anderson '14 apply their engineering studies to the real world by bringing clean water to Papua New Guinea.

Twins Kathleen and Jacqueline Byron ’92, engineer great lives…together.

Alumna Marisha Kasjan rings in 2015 with pizza and the power of a kindness.

Where students and faculty collaborate: Alumna Kim Menius teams up with Professor Robert Hauhart to take her revised senior thesis to publication.

For Tanzania's Doctor Sister Redemista Ngonyani, O.S.B. '04 education is key to being the change she wants to see in the world.

Christine Schaller '93, aiming high because of Saint Martin’s University.

Rae Simpson BSN '95, MSN '98, using her Saint Martin's education to see the bigger picture.

Joe Skillman '13, masters the art of balancing family, school, work and faith.

Looking for the perfect Christmas tree? Ask Jonathan Sprouffske '04 and his family who keep the holiday tradition alive and well.

Current students

Missed opportunities with her great aunt light the fire of English as a Learned Language (ELL) for Benedictine Scholar Hope Chamberlain '17.

Washington Association for Marriage and Family Therapy honors MAC candidate Liz Robinson '15 with $500 scholarship.

Presenting in paradise! For psychology major Timothy Templin, Honolulu made the presentation process a calmer experience.


Jeff Birkenstein, being influenced by Russian writers in Petrozavodsk.

Julia Chavez, helping students see themselves through the universal elements of Homer's The Iliad.

From Vietnam to Lacey, Assistant Professor Tam Dinh, journeys to the American Dream… caring, generous citizens investing in all of our future.

Mary Jo Hartman, broadening SMU's biology horizons through "Sound Learning Communities."

How do you help your students succeed in their senior capstone projects? First, read Professor Robert Hauhart's Designing and Teaching Undergraduate Capstone Courses.

Louise Kaplan inspires the next generation of nursing professionals.

Professor Terry McAdam explores the challenges when forensic science meets the law, in a new textbook for criminal justice studies.

Why present your scholarly work? Jeremy Newton offers insight into presentation benefits.

New York City. Summer 2014. Healing and social justice through improvisation. A Playback Theatre workshop with Leticia Nieto.


Japanese 101 and 201 students learn about Japanese culture via green tea and a thousand year old ritual.

Six lives are changed by service immersion in Tanzania.

What do you get when you cross a pig naming contest with a pig hunt? Why student philanthropy, of course!

Pack your bags! It's time to head north, south, east or west with Saint Martin's study abroad programs.

Two transfer students representing the Benedictine values and the Saint Martin's spirit are awarded $26,000 each.

Want to become a better teacher? Try traveling to Inner Mongolia.

Like what? Post where? Retweet who? The Saint Martin's Social Squad social(media)-izes SMU!

#SaintsAlive! Let's get sustainable! Going to Bellingham and going green.

How do you make the seemingly unfloatable float? Why build a concrete canoe of course!

Transformation is the name of the game for the 2013 women's fastpitch softball team.

Celebrity chef Michael Symon helps SMU raise $960,000 for student scholarships.

Team Anderson: Olga, Alex and Alexander engineer for the future.

SMU 'takes the LEED' with the highest certification in the Western Hemisphere.

2013 fall convocation Taking the road less traveled.

Fall 2013 convocation
Scott A. Schulz, dean of enrollment

"I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference."

We’ll revisit the meaning of Frost’s thoughts from the end of "The Road Not Taken" in a moment. But first I want to welcome you to Saint Martin’s University and congratulate you on the commitment you have made, not just to Saint Martin’s, but to yourself.

You’ve worked hard — in high school, community colleges, four-year colleges, the military, the public and private sectors.

But you realize there’s more work to be done. You’re ready to take the next step toward gaining a better understanding of yourself, our world, and your place in it.

Congratulations on accepting the challenge.

Of course, while the decision to pursue your education was ultimately your own, it would be unwise to forget those that have helped you pursue this path. Each of you had family members, friends, teachers, and mentors who encouraged you to dig deeper, go farther, and reach higher.

Many of them may even be here today. Please take a moment to show your appreciation and respect through a round of applause. Now, over the last several months each of you has built a relationship with the Office of Admissions at Saint Martin’s University — hopefully a good one. We’ve learned a lot about each of you — who you are, who you would like to become, and how you will fit into the Saint Martin’s community.

And what a community it continues to become. This is the most academically prepared class of first-year and transfer students in the 118 year history of Saint Martin’s. You are also an incredibly diverse class from many places and backgrounds. You are a class from 10 states and 16 countries, including Brazil, China, India, Jordan, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam; 40% of you are students of color; for 38% of our first-year students – you could be the first in your families to complete a baccalaureate degree; one-third of all of you are Catholic, with many other religious faiths and perspectives represented; and your academic interests are varied and interesting, with Biology the most popular major among you and Mechanical Engineering close behind; nearly a quarter of you are student-athletes. You are also musicians, artists, and writers. You have served our country and your local communities.

Our confidence in your capacity to be successful at Saint Martin’s has never been higher.

And that brings me to the main issue at hand. While getting into college is most certainly a commendable achievement, it is not the goal.

Right now, our nation’s capacity to compete in a global environment is being hindered by our underwhelming college attainment rates. Despite increasing numbers of students accessing colleges, degree completion rates have remained stagnant. Whereas the United States was once the envy of the world when it came to having an educated citizenry, we have since fallen drastically behind other industrialized nations in the percentage that hold a college degree hampering our economic vitality, as well as our health and civic involvement. Over the next decade, nearly two-thirds of all jobs in this country will require some sort of postsecondary credential. President Obama and others have set ambitious goals of improving our attainment rates. Our ability as a nation to meet the challenges of an ever more competitive landscape in the 21st century begins with you.

And that brings me back to Frost’s poem.

You will have many choices and opportunities during your time at Saint Martin’s University. We all know how the story needs to end. What we don’t know are the details of your journey. What will you write to make sure your story is worth reading? Will it be a story of perseverance, selflessness, intellectual curiosity, and growth? Will you take that road less traveled?

The faculty, staff, alumni, and monks of Saint Martin’s are here to guide you but it will be up to you to make the most of your collegiate experience.

We all look forward to seeing your stories take shape over the next few years, not only because you will be growing as individuals but because that growth will resonate throughout our entire community and provide hope for our nation as a whole.

Dean Richardson and Dr. Smith, it is my honor and privilege to present to you and the entire Saint Martin’s Abbey and University, this newest class of students for the fall of 2013. Thank you.