As Holy Names University and Samuel Merritt University work toward the memorandum of understanding that would put both longtime Oakland education institutions on the same Mountain Boulevard campus, representatives of both are saying they are learning a lot about each other.

Holy Names University, founded in 1868 by the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, and Samuel Merritt University, founded in 1909, share deep roots in the city of Oakland.

The strength of those roots is reflected not only in their commitment to serve the people of Oakland, but in diversity and accessibility to first-generation college students.

“We’re hoping to have a memorandum of understanding at the end of the year,” said Steven Borg, chairman of the board of trustees of Holy Names University.

Financial and construction issues, as well as a master plan through 2030, are under discussion. This is not a merger.

“What we are doing is pretty unique,” said Sharon Diaz, longtime president of Samuel Merritt University. “There are lots of mergers in higher education because of the challenges small liberal arts colleges are facing.”

The two universities are pursuing a plan to jointly expand and modernize the Holy Names campus in 60 acres in the Oakland hills over a period of several years. Samuel Merritt University’s classrooms, offices and labs on the Oakland campus are housed in six buildings spread across three city blocks, totaling 280,000 square feet.

Samuel Merritt would relocate from its main campus in Oakland when the project is completed. Samuel Merritt would continue to operate its campuses in Sacramento and on the San Francisco Peninsula.

Full story at The Catholic Voice.