Sharon Diaz's 45 Years of Leadership

Sharon Diaz served as the first President of Samuel Merritt University. In early 2018, which marked her 45th year at Samuel Merritt University, President Diaz announced her intention to retire. 

Diaz began her tenure as a nursing instructor in 1973 and was named the school’s first president in 1982. Under her leadership, SMU was transformed from a hospital-based diploma school of nursing to an accredited, nationally recognized health sciences university with academic programs across five disciplines. 

President Diaz received her Master of Science in Nursing from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and, in recognition of her exemplary leadership, an honorary Doctor of Philosophy from Saint Mary’s College of California.  

To learn more about some of the hallmarks of President Diaz’s 45 years of educational leadership:


Pictured: Nursing faculty member Sharon Diaz (R) with a nursing student, 1970s

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