The American Association of Colleges of Nursing Awards SMU $100K

Ashley Rappa

Samuel Merritt University has received a $100,000 grant from The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). The award was given to support competency-based education for practice-ready nurse graduates. Of almost 80 applicants, including some of the most prestigious universities in the country, only 10 were selected for an award. This three-year initiative recognizes SMU’s leadership in academic nursing and is a positive step forward for the university and greater community. 

“We’re thrilled to receive the AACN grant, which further deepens our longstanding commitment to preparing graduates for the future of nursing. Our graduates not only leave SMU ready to participate in that future of health care—they leave here ready to help shape it,” said Lorna Kendrick, PhD, APRN, PMHCNS-BC, Dean of SMU’s College of Nursing.

SMU is dedicated to delivering the highest-quality, hands-on education with a focus on compassion and community engagement. Students become skilled and caring professionals motivated to improve health outcomes and increase access to care.

The AACN exists to not only establish quality standards for nursing education, but also to assist schools in implementing those standards. It strives to positively impact the nursing profession to improve health care across the country, and promotes public support for professional nursing education, research, and practice. 

This news adds to SMU’s recent and historic momentum. In 2021, SMU was named the best college in California for getting a job by career research website Zippia, and in November 2022 received a $10 million gift to fund podiatric medicine and nursing programs, the largest gift in the university’s 113-year history.

SMU recently debuted a plan to double enrollment in the next 10 years and quadruple it by 2050, a vision supported by a new flagship campus in downtown Oakland, scheduled to open in January 2026. The cutting-edge urban hub will help shape the nurses of tomorrow, and by extension, the local and national health landscape for years to come.

“The country has had to evolve in the post-COVID pandemic environment, and nursing is no exception. The SMU College of Nursing has remained ahead of others in our vision and mission to meet the ever-changing healthcare system and workforce needs. Our graduates are leaders across all aspects of nursing using a variety of innovative models to give communities the highest level of evidenced-based care. We are deeply grateful to the AACN for recognizing and supporting our vision,” said Kendrick.

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