Saint Martin’s University earns national recognition for higher education programs designed for military students

March 5, 2014

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Saint Martin’s University recently received a national award for its dedication to providing quality educational programs to veterans and active duty members of the military and their families.

Cruz Arroyo, director of the University’s Extended Learning Division at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, received the 2014 Institution Award plaque on behalf of Saint Martin’s from the Council of College and Military Educators during the CCME’s recent annual symposium in Savannah, Ga. According to the CCME, the award is presented to a university or college to honor “its significant contributions to the cause of military education.” In order to qualify as a candidate for the Institution Award, higher education facilities must be directly involved in the support of voluntary, off-duty education for the armed forces.

“I am absolutely delighted and honored that Saint Martin’s University has received the Institution Award and is being recognized nationally for its commitment to the Armed Forces,” says Radana Dvorak, dean of the Extended Learning Division. “I am humbled by the dedication, professionalism and sheer hard work the Extended Learning Division faculty and staff deliver each day to our military members and their families. I also continue to be profoundly impressed by how all the faculty and staff throughout the Saint Martin’s community work tirelessly to ensure all of our students have ample opportunities to succeed.”

The CCME got its start in California during the 1970s out of a desire among military educators to exchange ideas on how to best serve the needs of military personnel who wanted to pursue a college education. Those early meetings evolved into annual symposiums. Today, the CCME remains an active proponent for the professional development of those in the military education community by providing a forum for the exchange of knowledge about educational programs, strategies and innovations among its members and associated partners. In addition to military educators, the CCME membership includes civilian educators, post-secondary educational institutions and suppliers of quality education products and services.

Saint Martin’s, which has been serving the educational needs of the military for more than 40 years, was specially honored by the CCME for establishing an academic partnership in the fall of 2013 with Microsoft and the company’s technology partner, Launch Consulting, to provide software development and testing training to active-duty service members transitioning out of the military. The Microsoft Software & Systems Academy serves as a bridge from the military to the technology field by offering a 16-week course to prepare service members for careers such as a developer, applications engineer and IT project manager. The first cohort of 22 students finished the program in December 2013. Adjunct professors of Saint Martin’s teach the course and the academy is based at JBLM. The creation of this program was inspired by Sen. Patty Murray’s legislation, “VOW to Hire Heroes Act.”

Saint Martin’s has made substantial efforts to pursue an integrated institutional approach to better serve its military students by incorporating traditional, classroom instruction with independent study, online study, distance learning programs and flexible Community College of the Air Force courses, says Dvorak. “This critical and unique integration provides members of the active, Reserves, National Guard, and family members of all military services with quality educational opportunities in the local academic arena or while serving far away in remote locations,” she says.

Saint Martin’s is the seventh institution of higher education to receive the Institution Award from the CCME. The other recipients are State University of New York, Empire State College (2013); American Military University (2012); University of Maryland University College (2011); Hawaii Pacific University (2010); Coastline Community College (2009) and Colorado Technical University at Colorado Springs (2008).

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 23 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 400 graduate students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its Lacey campus, and 300 more undergraduate students to its extension campuses located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Centralia College. Visit the Saint Martin’s University website at

For additional information:

Radana Dvorak
Dean, Extended Learning Division

Meg Nugent Dwyer
Media relations manager