Murdock Trust Awards $296,000 Grant to Saint Martin’s University for Nursing Program Expansion

Nursing students working in a simulation lab.

LACEY, Wash. – Saint Martin’s University was selected to receive a $296,000 grant from the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust of Vancouver, Washington. This grant will support expanding the capacity of the program by adding a nursing classroom and augmenting the capabilities of the simulation and learning labs in the Bruno and Evelyn Betti Nursing Education Center for enhanced learning, student access and program expansion.

“The M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust is a longtime partner of Saint Martin’s University,” said Roy Heynderickx, Ph.D., interim co-president. “Their support of the University’s growing nursing program is a testament to the value of our program, our faculty and our graduates.” 

The Saint Martin’s nursing program has three pathways to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN): the traditional four-year BSN, the LPN to BSN and the RN to BSN. These nursing tracks have 200 nursing students who are learning to work across care settings. The program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and approved by the Washington State Board of Nursing.  

“With the growing shortage of nurses in the region, we are pleased to be a part of the solution and equipping our nursing graduates to work within different, complex healthcare environments,” said Teri Woo, Ph.D., ARNP, professor and director of nursing. “This grant from the Murdock Trust will allow us to expand and renovate space to grow the program and add additional nursing students in each cohort.” 

 The original nursing program at Saint Martin’s began in 1986 and offered an RN to BSN track. In the 1990s, the program added master’s degrees for family nurse practitioners and for health policy. When enrollment declined, these nursing programs were phased out in the late 1990s. In 2010, Washington set a goal for academic progression in nursing for 80 percent of RNs to obtain BSN degrees or higher by 2020, which led to a decision to reinstate Saint Martin’s RN to BSN program. In 2012, Saint Martin’s admitted a new class of RN to BSN students into the program. In 2019 the University added a traditional four-year BSN program and in 2021 added an LPN to BSN track to offer multiple pathways to the BSN degree.   

“Our highly trained and skilled nursing graduates move on to support countless individuals in their journey to recovery and healing,” said Father Kilian Malvey, O.S.B., interim co-president. “This wonderful program helps us, as a Catholic, Benedictine university, to fulfill our mission of service, stewardship and respect for all persons not only within our local community but also within the wider world as well.” 

 About Saint Martin’s University 

Saint Martin’s University is an independent coeducational university, with undergraduate and graduate offerings, located on a wooded campus of more than 380 acres in Lacey, Washington. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 13 Benedictine colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin’s University empowers students to pursue a lifetime of learning and accomplishment through its 31 majors, 11 master’s programs, one doctorate program and seven certificate programs spanning the arts and sciences, business, counseling, education, engineering, nursing, and leadership. Saint Martin’s welcomes more than 1,300 undergraduate students and 250 graduate students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its Lacey campus, and more students to its extended campus located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. 

 About M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust 

M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, created by the will of the late Melvin J. (Jack) Murdock, provides grants to organizations in five states of the Pacific Northwest—Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington—that seek to strengthen the region’s educational and cultural base in creative and sustainable ways.