Submitted by Saint Martin’s University

Three months after the establishment of the Abbot Neal G. Roth, O.S.B. Saints Care Emergency Fund more than 1,000 Saint Martin’s University students have benefited from the Saint Martin’s Abbey gift, which was created to provided additional scholarship support and emergency student aid for incoming and returning students in Fall 2020.

Since last spring, COVID-19 has taken a tremendous toll on students, faculty, staff, monastic members, and community with our students being our most vulnerable population in terms of the severe and devastating economic impacts of the pandemic.

“Everyone suffered under COVID. The gift was a response to the financial needs of our students and their families,” said Abbot Marion Nguyen, O.S.B. “We monks do not live a very extravagant life and we strive to be good stewards of what we have, but our community never hesitated to give 3.5 million to our students because the students are our main ministry, our principle apostolate in which we demonstrate the depth of our faith and our commitment to God.”

As of July, 454 one-time scholarships ranging from $500 to $3,000 in amount have been awarded to new, incoming first year, transfer, and graduate students who made their deposits and commitments by July 1, 2020. An additional 645 scholarships have been awarded to returning/continuing Saint Martin’s students.

“The Abbot Neal G. Roth, O.S.B. Saints Care Emergency Fund has played a significant role in helping our students with high needs overcome obstacles, remain in school, and to pursue their education in these unprecedented challenging times,” shared President Roy Heynderickx. “This generous gift has helped fund tuition, purchase laptops and other equipment needed for remote learning, and/or cover costs of health care or other emergent needs resulting from the pandemic.”

Below are a few of the stories shared by students:

  • “During this unfortunate series of events, both my parents [have been] unemployed since April. … However, with such a generous scholarship/grant from the Abbey, concern for my education [is] a little lower. It will be directly applied to my direct fees in hopes to lower cost of tuition,” said Saint Martin’s junior Ian Yadao, exercise science major.
  • “I am the fifth eldest child out of 11 children and my parents are struggling to cover not only the schooling funds of 8 other kids but also basic and fundamental needs. To receive the news of this scholarship that allows me to continue pursuing my education goals and stay in school is a blessing in itself,” said junior Sophia Lim, communication studies major.
  • “I had been considering switching to a community college simply for money problems but I am so glad that I get to stay at Saint Martin’s and be a part of the wonderful community, “ said Kelsey Bielec, sophomore education major.

The scholarship support provided by the “Abbot Neal G. Roth, O.S.B. Saints Care Emergency Fund” has been instrumental in helping the University retain its enrollments and minimize “enrollment melt” with many students across the state and nation electing to defer college and/or take a “gap” year due to the pandemic.

Saint Martin’s Abbey made a commitment of $3.5 million to Saint Martin’s University to support students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in May, marking the largest gift that Saint Martin’s Abbey has made to the University. The gift was made for the sole purpose of providing direct emergency aid grants for Saint Martin’s students to ensure those in need of the extra one-time support can continue pursuing their educational goals.

Saint Martin’s University is an independent, four-year, coeducational university located on a wooded campus of more than 300 acres in Lacey, Washington. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 13 Benedictine colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin’s University prepares students for successful lives through its 29 majors, 11 master’s programs, one doctorate program and five certificate programs spanning the liberal arts, business, education, nursing and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes more than 1,300 undergraduate students and 250 graduate students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its Lacey campus, and more students to its extended campus located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

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