SMU Nursing Students Donate Annual Class Fund in Memory of Fallen Oakland Police Officers

Samuel Merritt University

Media Relations Contact:
Elizabeth Valente   510.725.7980
May 18, 2009

SMU Nursing Students Donate Annual Class Fund in Memory of Fallen Oakland Police Officers

(OAKLAND, Calif., May 18, 2009) Instead of a party celebrating their success, Samuel Merritt University students from the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program will donate their 2009 class fund to the Oakland Police Officer’s Association (OPOA) in memory of the four fallen officers who died in the line of duty in March.


Two of the graduating BSN students will present a $1,140 check to Acting Police Chief Howard A. Jordan and OPOA President Dom Arotzarena. All 57 nursing students from the 2009 BSN program supported the decision to donate to OPOA. Historically students have used the class fund to celebrate completing the rigorous nursing program.

"Even though these soon-to-be nurses have very demanding schedules and mountains of debt from their studies, they wanted to contribute to the Oakland Police Department in a meaningful way," said Samuel Merritt University President Sharon Diaz. "Their commitment to the community is consistent with the University’s mission to educate students to become highly skilled and compassionate healthcare professionals who make a difference in healthcare in diverse communities."


One of the students presenting the check on Tuesday was personally touched by the tragedies of last March. She was doing her one-on-one supervised clinical work at Alameda County Medical Center when the first officer was brought in on March 21.

"When they called the code I went down to the emergency room and you could feel everyone felt the pain and the tragedy of the situation," recalls Caitlin Baron, BSN graduate. "The ER was full of police officers, nurses, and doctors. After the horror of that day, our graduating class decided we wanted to give back -- to show our appreciation for the police officers’ courage and the protection they give us."

The 2009 BSN class will graduate this Friday at the Paramount Theatre.


Students will present the check on Tuesday, May 19 at 3:00 p.m.


The meeting will be held at the Oakland Police Officer’s Association building at 555 5th Street, Oakland.


Interviews and photo/filming opportunities available. Please contact Elizabeth Valente, Associate Director of Media Relations at 510.725.7980 cell and

Samuel Merritt University, located on 'Pill Hill' in Oakland, California, is celebrating 100 years of educating health science practitioners who are committed to making a positive difference in diverse communities. Nearly 1,300 students are enrolled at SMU, with campuses in Oakland, Sacramento, San Francisco and San Mateo. The 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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