MAY Letter from the Editor
It is an unusual opportunity to be able to candidly interview a University leader and some of her closest colleagues about what makes her tick. In the case of Sharon Diaz, who marks her 40th anniversary at Samuel Merritt University this year, the insights gained are particularly revealing because her life and career are inextricably linked to the transformation of SMU from a small diploma school of nursing to a multi-specialty university.
Her longevity at SMU is remarkable, particularly when you consider that the average length of service for a college president is about eight and a half years, according to the American Council on Education. A decade is considered a long-term presidential tenure.
The profile story of President Diaz in this edition of eNEWS launches a celebration of her four decades at SMU, which will culminate in a tribute dinner on October 12. Future articles will take a closer look at her accomplishments as well as what she calls her "unfinished business" of continuing to position the University to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing healthcare system.
By all accounts, SMU has benefited from Sharon's staying power through SMU's stages of growth. "Her commitment to Samuel Merritt has never wavered," says SMU Regent Dr. Cornelius Hopper.
In other stories, faculty members Richard Rocco and Christina C. Lewis give us a glimpse into their efforts to share crucial health information with Allen Temple Baptist Church through their Community Learning Forums - part of a growing relationship between SMU and the 5,000-member Oakland church.
Also, School of Nursing faculty member Marjorie Hammer writes about her work with Assistant Professor Miriam Eisenhardt on "The Spirit Seminars: Nursing Student Development in Cross-Cultural Care and Addressing Health Disparities." Last month, they presented an interactive session about their program at Columbia University's Teachers College's 5th Annual National Health Disparities Conference in New York City.
And, last but not least, we hope you will join us this October at the Sharon Clark Diaz Scholarship Dinner. Read more about the dinner, and mark your calendars. It will be a celebratory night, honoring Sharon Diaz while helping raise funds for student scholarships.
This is the last edition of eNEWS until September, but that doesn't mean we will stop sharing news of the SMU community in the coming months. Please read about the kinds of stories we hope you will continue sharing with the Office of the President so we can keep readers of our website and followers of our social media networks informed about all of the interesting undertakings of our faculty, staff and students.