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Saint Martin’s Purple Heart designation is a well-deserved honor

Veterans and servicemembers long-served by schooling at JBLM

The American flag flies proudly in front of Saint Martin’s University, now a Purple Heart-designated college. Photo credit: Saint Martin’s University

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Last week, Saint Martin's University announced it had been awarded the Purple Heart University designation by the Military Order of the Purple Heart, which made the private Lacey school the first university or college in Washington state to receive the honor.

The Purple Heart University designation recognizes institutions of learning nationally for their support of veterans and their families, a tradition that has a long history at Saint Martin's. The college has higher-education programs based at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) to serve transitioning servicemembers.

"Saint Martin's University is proud and honored to serve the military both at our Lacey campus and at Joint Base Lewis-McChord," Saint Martin's University President Roy F. Heynderickx, Ph.D., told "This is our way to give back to those who so valiantly serve our country today or have done so in the past. We humbly accept this designation knowing that it really recognizes those who have given so much."

The recognition letter from the Military Order of the Purple Heart notes that the designation honors the entire veteran community at Saint Martin's, in addition to the students, faculty and staff, Board of Trustees and administration.

The Purple Heart Medal, created by George Washington in 1782, is the Badge of Military Merit, and it is the oldest military award given to U.S. military members. Traditionally, the medal has been awarded to those who are wounded in combat, or to their next of kin if they are killed in action. The Military Order of the Purple Heart was founded in 1932 to protect the mutual interest of all veterans and active-duty men and women who have received the decoration -- and to recognize institutions for military service, so to speak.

"Saint Martin's University and Abbey have a long history of serving the military both here on the main campus and at JBLM," Heynderickx said in a university press release. "We are pleased and excited to receive this recognition. This designation is one more way for all of us to remember those who sacrificed so much for our country."

Saint Martin's University has previously been recognized by Military Advanced Education & Transition as one of the top schools for military personnel and their families due to the school's strong relationships with JBLM, and its wide variety of military and veterans' clubs and organizations on base and on the Lacey campus.

For example, servicemembers transitioning to civilian life can take advantage of Saint Martin's Microsoft Software and Systems Academy to prepare for high-skilled technology careers. Additionally, the university offers a variety of master's and bachelor's degree programs designed for non-traditional students, so soldiers who want to upgrade job skills or investigate a new field have plenty of options to explore.

Among Saint Martin's University - JBLM's programs are graduate and bachelor's degrees, as well as professional certifications, including Master's of Education and Master's in Teaching. Undergraduate degrees are offered in computer science and information technology, accounting, business administration, criminal justice, elementary education, political science, psychology and special education.

"We are absolutely honored to have received this distinguished recognition," said Cruz Arroyo, associate dean for administration for Saint Martin's University - JBLM campuses. "It belongs to every student, faculty and staff member who has gallantly served our nation, as well as all military families who serve and sacrifice in their own brave manner. We look forward to continued years of service to these gallant men and women."

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