$1 Million Gift Supports COVID-19 Testing, Athletics

Dominican University of California has received a $1 million gift that will support the University’s response to COVID-19 while also seeding a wide range of new initiatives with particular support for the Penguins’ strong athletics program.

“This gift is a dramatic statement of confidence in the many ways that The Dominican Experience transforms the lives of our students,” says Dominican University of California President Mary B. Marcy. “The gift positions us to keep our close-knit campus community safe while we continue to provide our students with a high-quality education, a structured network of personal and professional support, and opportunities to engage with each other and the greater community.”

The anonymous gift will fund widespread COVID-19 testing of students throughout the 2020-2021 academic year. The University is exploring a pooled testing regimen that would allow for multiple students to be screened in one test, greatly reducing the cost of supplies, staffing, and time required to perform tests.  Such rigorous testing, along with the implementation of public health protocols as guided by Marin Health and Human Services, will support the continued student engagement that is the hallmark of a Dominican education.

“The gift is a tremendous endorsement of Dominican’s leadership as we maximize the opportunity for our students to participate in meaningful ways with their education and their community,” says Dr. Carolyn Klebanoff, Chair of the University’s Board of Trustees. “The funds will help Dominican protect members of its campus community while they engage in our signature program of transformative teaching and learning."

The gift recognizes the important role of athletics in the student experience by funding new initiatives and scholarships for a variety of women’s and men’s teams. Funding also will support a new women’s lacrosse club team by the 2022-23 season; an endowed scholarship  the Barbara Louise Goldstein Fund and operational costs for the men’s lacrosse program; an Athletic Director’s discretionary fund for COVID-19 response; and a student-athlete emergency fund.

“The Department of Athletics could not be more grateful for the generous gift. The donor has a deep respect and understanding of the time commitment, hard work, dedication, perseverance, and leadership skills that our student-athletes have at Dominican,” says Director of Athletics Amy Henkelman. “These scholarships will financially help student-athletes so they can focus on their academics and athletics and not have to carry multiple jobs at the same time. The gift will also help the Athletics Department get through some of the challenges of COVID-19.”

Dominican intends to offer a highly flexible program of in-person, hybrid, and online courses when the fall semester begins August 24, with students due to return to campus residence halls the week of August 17. In preparation for reopening, Dominican is developing an extensive set of health and safety protocols for all aspects of campus life. A cross-functional task force is finalizing a comprehensive plan to prepare the campus for fall 2020. Its members are designing in- and out-of-class protocols that will enable the University to remain flexible while continuing in-person work and learning in a healthy environment. The team also is identifying the technology, training, policy, and infrastructure needed to offer the University’s high-impact learning experiences in hybrid or remote delivery contexts.

“Our mission, as embodied by The Dominican Experience, will not change this fall, but some things will look different,” President Marcy says. “We will have more structured schedules, even smaller classes, and a lot of flexibility as we adapt to evolving public health protocols. The close-knit community and sense of engagement will remain intact.”

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