OAKLAND – Samuel Merritt College, an Oakland-based nursing school, has changed a lot in its 100-year history, and on Tuesday, its name changed as well. The college is now known as Samuel Merritt University.
Over the past century, Samuel Merritt evolved from a small school of nursing to a health sciences institution offering undergraduate and graduate education programs.
Cornelius Hopper, the chair of the Samuel Merritt Board of Regents, said that changing the name to Samuel Merritt University better reflects the range of professional programs, including doctoral degrees, and research opportunities offered by the institution.
"We have witnessed momentum building during the last decade of growth and expansion," Hopper said. "The achievements of our graduates, and the quality and rigor of academic programs, gave us the confidence to embrace the vision of becoming nationally recognized."
The college is now the largest source of registered nurses in the state of California, according to the university, and the only provider of physical and occupational therapists, physician assistants and podiatric physicians in the East Bay.
There is no nationally standardized definition of the term "university" in the United States, although the term is primarily used to designate research institutions and is often reserved for doctorate-granting institutions.
Samuel Merritt University offers doctoral programs in physical therapy and podiatric medicine and plans to offer doctorate degrees in nursing and pharmacy.
"The health care system has become increasingly complex, requiring a greater degree of scientific knowledge of practitioners across all health sciences disciplines," university President Sharon Diaz said.