Samuel Merritt College Becomes a University

Appeared in: Sutter Health

OAKLAND, Calif., January 26, 2009 - Reflecting a 100-year transformation from a school of nursing to a multi-discipline health sciences institution, Samuel Merritt College becomes Samuel Merritt University January 27. The announcement was made by College President Sharon Diaz at Founder's Day, the institution's Centennial kick off celebration.

Dr. Cornelius Hopper, chair of the Samuel Merritt Board of Regents, said 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,” said Dr. Hopper. “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.”

Over the past century, Samuel Merritt University (SMU) has evolved from a small school of nursing to a premier health sciences institution offering undergraduate and graduate education programs. It is now the largest source of registered nurses in the state of California, and the only provider of physical and occupational therapists, physician assistants and podiatric physicians in the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Recognizing the importance of advanced educational degrees in the expanding health care field, the University offers doctoral programs in physical therapy and podiatric medicine, and plans to offer doctorate degrees in nursing and pharmacy.

“Highly skilled and compassionate professionals are needed to tackle 21st century health care challenges,” said President Diaz. “The health care system has become increasingly complex, requiring a greater degree of scientific knowledge of practitioners across all health sciences disciplines. Graduates of our institution receive that critical knowledge through rigorous coursework and clinical internships.”

SMU graduates are in demand, and experience very high rates of employment within one year of graduation. The University prepares more graduates eligible for the National Council Licensure Examination than any other institution of higher education in California. Graduates earn passing scores far above national averages on license and certification exams. Nearly 1,300 students are enrolled, with campuses in Oakland, Sacramento, San Francisco and San Mateo.


About Samuel Merritt University
Samuel Merritt University offers an undergraduate degree in nursing; master's degrees in nursing, occupational therapy, physician assistant; and doctoral degrees in physical therapy and podiatric medicine. For more information visit

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