Record gift leads major transformation at Dominican

As higher education evolves to respond to needs of students and demands of employers, Dominican University of California has announced a major gift to transform the university through a series of initiatives focused on best practices in higher education.

The initiatives will be launched by a gift – Dominican’s largest ever – from Andrew Barowsky, chair of the University’s Board of Trustees. Dominican President Mary B. Marcy announced the initiatives on March 26 during a special "One Dominican" ceremony on the Angelico Hall stage. She was joined in conversation with NBC Bay Area news anchor Jessica Aguirre and Mr. Barowsky.

When fully realized the gift will mean $25 million in new revenue to the university, initiated by $17.5 million in outright gifts led by the chairman. It will enable Dominican to launch a renewed vision of liberal arts education that will benefit all students.

Dominican’s student population, which mirrors California’s demographic shift, is the future of higher education nationwide.

“This gift is the beginning of the next decade of Dominican’s evolution,” President Marcy said. “As the future of higher education is being shaped by societal, economic, and technological forces, it is critical to think of new ways in which a university can nurture and inspire a new generation of students while preparing them for success in their future endeavors."

The gift also will establish the Andrew P. Barowsky School of Business, expand the University’s international programming through the creation of the Françoise O. Lepage Center for Global Innovation, and launch the Acacia Project, a series of long-term upgrades to the physical campus.

“Andrew Barowsky’s gift is unique, as it is not funding just one building or one program,” President Marcy said. “He is investing in creating an important new vision that will ensure that every student’s education leads not simply to a successful career but to a purposeful, effective life.”







Beginning fall 2014, Dominican will frame academic programming to integrate “high-impact practices” across the curriculum so that all students will engage in coursework purposefully aligned with out-of-classroom activities.

These practices, which include service-learning, undergraduate research, capstone projects, and intensive first-year seminars, have been shown to increase rates of student retention and student engagement. They also provide students with skills employers demand: critical thinking, communication, teamwork, leadership, cultural awareness, project management, and the ability to work independently.

“We know from research that having multiple experiences with high-impact practices, spread across a student’s academic program, is one of the most effective determinants of student success and meaningful learning,” President Marcy said.

Dominican’s “high impact” investment comes as U.S. colleges and universities realize they must adapt in order to meet demands of a global market and an increasingly diverse student body. Meanwhile, employers are demanding deeper levels of skills and knowledge.

The gift also will enable Dominican to engage the entire campus in supporting the personal and career development of all students. Dominican will open an Integrated Advising Center to establish a holistic system of intellectual and professional support. Faculty, staff, and advisors will be cross-trained to guide students from the day they first make contact with Dominican and continuing throughout their professional lives.

The Center will bring together offices and programs that directly affect students’ experience – admissions, the registrar, academic advising, career planning – and allow them to work in concert. The Center also will extend students’ reach, connecting them with organizations and businesses in the local community and with Dominican alumni across the country and around the world.

Dominican’s student profile – about 30 percent of the University’s 1,600 undergraduates are first-generation college students and almost 50 percent represent an ethnic minority – stand to benefit from this structured system of academic, personal, and professional support.

“I look at our students and see the future of higher education,” President Marcy said. “Soon, the country’s college-going population will reflect our demographics. If we can do right by our students, we can start to do right by a whole generation of American college students.”

The result will be a fully integrated experience designed to prepare students for lives of purpose.

Mr. Barowsky joined Dominican’s Board of Trustees in 2004, where he currently serves as Chairman. He first became involved with the University after his business associate’s sister Françoise Lepage, a long-time professor at Dominican, encouraged him to get involved and make a difference.

Mr. Barowsky served as president, treasurer, and CEO of Lepage Bakeries, Inc. from 1977 until 2012 when the company was sold to Flower Foods. Lepage Bakeries continues to operate under its current name as a part of Flowers Foods' DSD segment and Barowsky serves as both co-chairman of the board of Lepage Bakeries and as vice chairman of innovation for Flowers Foods.

It was while leading the presidential search committee that Mr. Barowsky began formulating what he could do to help propel Dominican into the future.

“I wanted to lead Dominican to a special place within higher education,” he said. “With President Marcy at the helm, I knew we would have a great opportunity that I couldn’t squander. President Marcy has great vision and is a great leader. Dominican will provide students with an education they deserve and an education that is urgently needed for students who represent our hope for the future.”

In the past year, faculty, staff, and students have participated in a campus-wide planning process focused on how to build on the University’s existing strengths while preparing for future challenges.

“What we are doing, and part of what this phenomenal gift makes possible, is the chance to create a new vision of higher education,” President Marcy said. “We know the demographics of the country are changing, and we know that the way in which we must serve students like ours needs to change as well.”

The Andrew P. Barowsky School of Business

The Andrew P. Barowsky School of Business will offer a redesigned academic program that will incorporate new thinking and best practices into both graduate and undergraduate academic programs.

“We will create a business school that not only anticipates change but also creates change,” Mr. Barowsky said. “Our goal is to be flexible, strategic, and responsive.”

In fall 2014, the Andrew P. Barowsky School of Business will launch a new Master of Business Administration (MBA) program designed to be flexible, accessible, and responsive to today’s global business environment. The MBA’s common core will provide an interdisciplinary set of business skills. Students will be able to complement these skills with a concentration in either global business, sustainable enterprise, or strategic leadership.

Students will be able to apply what they have learned in the classroom through an integrated capstone experience and a global consulting project, during which a faculty-led team will research the strategic needs of an international organization. In the following semester, students will present consulting recommendations in person during a 10-day in-country visit.

The program will feature a full-time, one-year program; a part-time, two-year evening program; and a part-time, two-year weekend program. The one-year option will enable students who begin studies in fall 2014 to complete the full-time program by fall 2015. The global consulting project will be integrated into both the full-time and part-time programs.

Students will enter the MBA program as members of a cohort – a team of students who will work together while progressing through the common core. This structure will enable students to share ideas, gain new perspectives, and collaborate productively with others. Prior to the start of the MBA program, students will participate in a multi-day intensive orientation featuring seminars and team-building projects.

The Françoise O. Lepage Center for Global Innovation

The Françoise O. Lepage Center for Global Innovation will be developed as a hub of Dominican’s international initiatives. The Center is named for Dominican’s pioneering professor and administrator. In 1981, Lepage designed and implemented Dominican’s undergraduate international studies major. In 1986, she founded one of the nation’s first graduate programs in Pacific Basin Studies. During the program’s tenure at Dominican, Lepage personally matched students with internship opportunities and received numerous awards for her research, vision, and positive influence.

“Global innovation is a manifestation of hope,” Dr. Lepage said. “It’s about solving problems more effectively – exploring business models that sustain organizations and add to the world’s supply of dignity, progress, and joy.”

The Lepage Center will build relationships with institutions around the world in order to provide opportunities for faculty and student exchanges, global classroom and professional experiences, and cross-cultural work.

The Lepage Center also will oversee a network of internships with partner organizations and serve as a clearinghouse for information about professional opportunities overseas.

The Acacia Project

The Acacia Project will allow Dominican to make thoughtful, crucial adjustments to the physical campus, taking into consideration the University’s impact on the natural environment and on the surrounding neighborhood.

The project, with initial designs by architects Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, is guided by key principles: making the campus more pedestrian-friendly, addressing traffic flow, bringing teaching and learning spaces into alignment with contemporary needs, creating more community space, and incorporating sustainability into all of the work.


Media Contacts: Sarah Gardner, [email protected]
Dave Albee, [email protected]