Saint Martin's University

Saint Martin's University is a private Benedictine, liberal arts university in Lacey, Washington. It was founded in 1895 as an all-boys boarding school by monks of the Benedictine Order. Saint Martin's began offering college-level courses in 1900 and became a degree-granting institution in 1940. The college became coeducational in 1965. In 2005, it changed its name from Saint Martin's College to Saint Martin's University. It has a functioning Benedictine monastery on school grounds, and some members of the monastic community also serve as professors.

Saint Martin's University
Motto"Think with heart"
Religious affiliation
Roman Catholic (Benedictine)
EndowmentUSD $12.8 million
PresidentDr. Roy F. Heynderickx[1]
Academic staff
Location, ,
United States
CampusSuburban, 380 acres (1.5 km2)
ColorsRed & White         
AthleticsGreat Northwest Athletic Conference, NCAA Division II
WebsiteSt. Martin's University


Saint Martin's patron saint is Saint Martin of Tours, a fourth-century Gregorian missionary and later Bishop of Tours. The University and its founder, Saint Martin's Abbey, sit on 300 acres (1.2 km2) of woodlands, trees, rocks, and meandering trails. The site was selected in 1893 by Abbot Bernard Locnikar, O.S.B., of Minnesota's Saint John's Abbey, Saint Martin's Abbey's mother house. At a public auction on April 21, 1894, the wooded parcel that would become the Saint Martin's campus was purchased for $6,920.

Work began on Saint Martin's first building in January 1895, and by late summer, a four-story structure housing both the school and a monastery was completed. The school at that time offered preparatory classes for boys, plus commercial and classical education for older boys and young men. Boarding students who came from outside of town also were housed in the campus' one large building.[2] Today, that structure is referred to as Old Main and continues to house many of the university's classrooms and offices.

180° panorama on the campus of Saint Martin's University, Lacey, Washington on a sunny August afternoon.


  • 1955-1959 Father Damian Glenn, OSB
  • 1959-1964 Father Dunstan Curtis, OSB
  • 1964-1971 Father Michael Feeney, OSB
  • 1971-1975 Father Matthew Naumes
  • 1975-1980 Father John Scott, OSB
  • 1980-1984 Dr. John Ishii
  • 1984-2005 Dr. David Spangler
  • 2005-2008 Dr. Douglas Astolfi
  • 2008 Bryan M. Johnston, J.D. (Deceased; never formally inaugurated)
  • 2008-2008 Dr. David Spangler (Interim)
  • 2009 Dr. Roy F. Heynderickx


The college offers 28 baccalaureate programs and seven graduate degree programs, and it is best known for its civil & mechanical engineering, business administration, and education programs. The University offers programs and courses at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Centralia College. The school's education is based around a liberal arts core with an emphasis on Benedictine values.

All first-year students take a basic freshman seminar class to introduce them to college life. For the last three years, the college has offered a Summer Bridge Program, which serves as a college writing workshop for incoming freshmen. Classes have a 12:1 student-to-teacher ratio. General education requirements include:

  • Freshman Seminar
  • College Writing
  • Communication Studies
  • Philosophy
  • Religion
  • Physical Education
  • U.S. & International History
  • Literature
  • Fine Arts
  • Science with Lab
  • Basic Mathematics

Colleges and schools

  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • College of Education and Professional Psychology
  • Hal and Inge Marcus School of Engineering
  • School of Business


The school's sports teams participate in the NCAA's Great Northwest Athletic Conference at the Division II level. The women's basketball team qualified for the NCAA Division II tournament in 1992 and 2008. In the 1940s and 1950s, Saint Martin's had a men's college football team and a boys' high school football team, which won the Washington Class A championship. In the 1990s, the name of the mascot was almost changed to the Ravens. In 2008, the Men's Basketball team defeated Division 1-A Colorado State University Rams, making it Saint Martin's first major publicized victory over a D-1 opponent. In 2009, the Men's Soccer team seized the first team title in any sport for Saint Martin's University, winning the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. In 2010, the university hosted a training camp which featured the University of Washington Huskies Men's Basketball Team.[3]

Residence halls

  • Baran Hall — Three-story dormitory for upperclassmen
  • Burton Hall — Apartment-style facility for returning students; houses campus medical center
  • Spangler Hall — Built in 2005; houses returning students
  • Parsons Hall — Built in 2008; houses students from all classes (but mostly freshmen)

Sister schools

Saint Martin's has “sister university” agreements with four Korean universities; Sogang University, Konkuk University, Cheongju University and Sangmyung University. Saint Martin's also has sister universities in other Asian countries, including five in Japan (including Mukogawa Women's University and Reitaku University), three in China (including Shanghai Maritime University), and one in Taiwan (Chung Shan Medical University).

Sustainability and technology

Under a new environmental program, between August 29 and December 11, 2008, the cafeteria collected an average of 243 pounds of compostables a day. Besides food waste, this includes biodegradable paper waste, like cups, soup bowls, compostable lids, napkins and paper towels. It also includes to-go containers, cup lids, and straws and portion cups made from sugar-based polylactic acid plastic. The composting program took about 27,216 pounds of materials out of the waste stream in Thurston County in the fall semester alone. This material was transported to the Silver Springs composting facility and will be used again in many different forms. Saint Martin's is also setting up a program with Standard Biodiesel to start picking up used cooking oil and rendered grease for use in biodiesel.

The Learning Garden was started at SMU in 2010 by students, staff and faculty under the direction of communication studies professor, Dr. Irina Gendelman.[4]

Tapas K. Das, Ph.D., P.E., adjunct faculty member of Saint Martin's University School of Engineering, was named the recipient of the Professor S. K. Sharma Medal and CHEMCON Distinguished Speaker Award for 2007, given by the Development Organization for Sustainable Transformation (DOST). The Indian Institute of Chemical Engineers recently conferred the award upon Das to recognize his contributions to the profession of chemical engineering.

Harned Hall is in accordance with LEED green standards.

In the fall semester, 2012, a new 22,000+ square foot engineering building, Cebual Hall, opened. The building was awarded LEED platinum standard.

Notable people




  1. "WHEFA - Who We Are". Retrieved 10 September 2017.
  2. Scott, John Charles (1996). This Place Called Saint Martin's, 1895-1995: A Centennial History of Saint Martin's College and Abbey, Lacey, Washington. The Donning Company. ISBN 0-89865-982-5.
  3. SMU Saints Website — Saint Martin's University; retrieved November 17, 2009.
  4. "Sustainable Saints". Retrieved 10 September 2017.

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