Saint Martin’s recent sister-university agreement formalizes relationship with Karelian university

Aug. 13, 2014

Image alt text

Saint Martin’s University has signed a new joint sister-school agreement with Petrozavodsk State University in the Russian Federation Republic of Karelia, and the College of Saint Scholastica, a fellow Benedictine institution in Duluth, Minnesota. The agreement formalizes an academic and cultural exchange between the two American schools and the highly respected Russian teacher-training institution.

Karelia is in the northwest corner of the federation and shares a border with Finland. Like Washington state, it is well-known for its timber and forest products industry. The university is located in Karelia’s capitol city, Petrozavodsk.

The agreement, signed earlier this summer, commits the three institutions to exchanging students each summer for a joint Russian-American Language Camp, which just celebrated its 25th anniversary. The camp began as a project of Saint Scholastica and the Karelian university in 1990. Saint Martin’s became a participant in 2010 and sends students to the camp every other year, including this summer. On alternate summers, Petrozavodsk students study at the American schools.

The pact also paves the way for future collaboration between the institutions, including faculty exchanges, joint projects and hybrid courses taught simultaneously on all three college campuses.

Saint Martin’s President Roy F. Heynderickx, Ph.D., who was unable to attend the signing ceremony in Petrozavodsk, says “We are excited to add a Russian university to our growing list of international sister schools. Even more so, Petrozavodsk State University’s 25-year partnership with College of Saint Scholastica, a fellow Benedictine institution, suggests we, too, will enjoy a long, productive relationship.”

Representing Saint Martin’s at the ceremony was Jamie Olson, Ph.D., associate professor of English, who was instrumental in establishing the University’s connection with the Russian university. A Saint Scholastica alumnus, Olson teaches Russian language and literature, as well as world literature and writing courses. As an undergraduate student, he attended the camp at Petrozavodsk twice, experiences that grew into a lifelong fascination with Russia. He now helps lead the camp.

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 1,400 under-graduate students and 350 graduate students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its Lacey campus, and 300 more undergraduate students to its extended campuses located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Centralia College. Visit the Saint Martin’s University website at

For additional information:

Roy F. Heynderickx, Ph.D.

Genevieve Canceko Chan
Vice President, Office of Marketing and Communications