St. Benedict
May 19, 2016

Ten incoming Saint Martin’s University first-year students have been selected to serve as the fifth cohort of Benedictine Scholars. The University’s Benedictine Scholars Program, designed to support and reflect the University’s mission as a faith-based, values-centered institution, was launched in 2012 and dovetailed with the roll-out of the Saint Martin’s Benedictine Institute. The new cohort brings the total number of Benedictine Scholars to 50 students. The first cohort graduated May 8.

The incoming scholars will help form the student nucleus of a University-wide endeavor to understand, strengthen and articulate the centuries-old Catholic Benedictine values that are the foundation of Saint Martin’s University and Abbey, says Father Kilian Malvey, O.S.B., advisor to the Benedictine Scholars. These values—which include hospitality, moderation, respect for persons and stewardship—are rooted in The Rule of Saint Benedict, which was written about 540 A.D. by Saint Benedict of Norcia.

The scholars aspire to embody the University’s core values as a Catholic, Benedictine institution. The Rule remains relevant today as a guide to the spiritual and practical concerns of community living.

“We extend a warm and enthusiastic welcome to all of our new Benedictine Scholars,” Malvey says. “We will assist them in forming a strong spirit of community in which they will be able to develop all of their unique gifts and talents as independent men and women of faith and reason, while helping them to form strong bonds of friendship with their fellow students, their faculty, staff and members of the Saint Martin’s monastic community.

“Our first four cohorts of Benedictine Scholars have proven themselves to be enormously generous with putting their individual talents to great use in such areas as leadership in the residence halls, on our playing fields as athletes and in the classroom,” says Malvey. “They have contributed significantly to the spiritual and liturgical life of the campus through innovative major projects based on the Benedictine ideals. They have been a wonderful group of students and I expect our newest cohort will further enrich the Saint Martin’s community through their own academic and service pursuits.”

Faculty and staff members representing numerous departments throughout the University evaluated more than 200 candidates for the Benedictine Scholars program. Those selected are typically students whose academic records are matched by their leadership experiences, their contributions to the life of their school or faith communities, and their service to individuals and groups. Each scholar selected for the honor receives a $10,000 scholarship, renewable for four years of study.

After the Benedictine Scholars complete their freshman year on campus, they are asked to carry the core values of Saint Martin’s into the wider community and mentor incoming cohorts of scholars, Malvey says.

The 5th cohort Benedictine Scholars are:

  • Pieter Kruithof III, Tacoma, who will graduate from Woodrow Wilson High School and will major in mechanical engineering
  • Michael Otter-Johnson, Olympia, who will graduate from Timberline High School and will major in business administration
  • Dylon Maertens, Maple Valley, who plans to graduate from Tahoma Senior High School and will major in  mechanical engineering
  • Luis Camacho, Quincy, who is graduating from Quincy High School and will major in civil engineering
  • Keevan Forbes-Kashani, Olympia, who is graduating from Capital High School and will major in civil engineering
  • Kaitlyn Slade, Waipahu, Hawaii, who plans to graduate from Waipahu High School and will major in civil engineering
  • Alesha Garand, Newberg, Oregon, who will graduate from Newberg Senior High School and wants to study elementary education, English and theatre arts
  • Sheridan Menard, Kuna, Idaho, who is graduating from Mountain View High School and plans to major in biology, pre-medicine
  • Tracey Porter, Tacoma, who is set to graduate from Franklin Pierce High school and will major in psychology
  • Miriam Bautista-Rodriguez, Royal City, who is graduating from Royal High School and will major in social work


Saint Martin’s University is an independent, four-year, coeducational university located on a wooded campus of more than 300 acres in Lacey, Washing­ton. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 14 Benedic­tine colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin’s University prepares students for successful lives through its 25 majors and seven graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business, education, nursing and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes more than 1,100 undergraduate students and 340 graduate students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its Lacey campus, and 350 more students to its extended campuses located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Centralia College and Tacoma Community College.

For additional information:
Father Kilian Malvey, O.S.B.
Advisor, Benedictine Scholars
Professor, religious studies

Meg Nugent Dwyer
Media Relations Manager, Office of Marketing and Communications
Saint Martin’s University
(360) 412-6126;