Major Gift Supports Dominican’s Work Focused on Equity, Social Mobility

Subscribe to RSS Feed

Dominican University of California has received a $1.5 million gift that not only supports the growth of the University’s work focused on educational equity and social mobility but also serves as a matching challenge to inspire generosity from others. The “unrestricted” gift, which was made by an anonymous donor, provides essential, flexible financial support for the University as it recovers from the impact of the pandemic, enriches academics and athletics, and continues to invest in new programs and technology.

“Our donor has taken time to get to know Dominican, understand how our distinctive educational model supports student success and wellbeing, and through this investment has signaled strong confidence in what we offer to learners and the community,” says Dominican University of California President Nicola Pitchford.

“Dominican’s work is essential to our students and Marin county. This gift positions us to continue providing students of all backgrounds with equitable access to a high-quality education. It’s investments like these that empower us to keep the student experience at the center of our decisions while we adapt our business model to meet this moment.”

In recent months, the University has received gifts totaling in excess of $2 million to support scholarships and services for students. In addition to the $1.5 million gift to the Dominican Fund, this includes $250,000 to expand the East Bay Teachers of Color Scholarship, $150,000 for the University’s “integrative coaching” program, a $75,000 gift for the Marin Teachers of Color Scholarship, and $50,000 to the Dominican Fund.

This landmark $1.5 million gift also played a pivotal role during the "All In For Dominican" fundraising campaign, serving as the matching challenge that tripled the initial $189,000 raised through generous donations from the Dominican community. This match not only multiplied the financial impact of each gift received but also underscored the donor's commitment to leverage their contribution to inspire and increase giving among others.

More than a dozen years ago, Dominican anticipated a change in student demographics locally and nationally—a rise in traditional college-age Americans from low-income and BIPOC communities, especially communities that have been underrepresented in higher education until now. The University undertook a years-long, comprehensive campus effort to refine and bring to scale a distinctive, holistic approach to education, anchored in the university’s mission, drawing on our strengths, and based on national research that shows key practices support the success of historically underserved students.

Since Fall 2011, the percentage of undergraduate students of color attending Dominican has increased by about 30%. During this time, the University’s graduation rates have steadily increased across the student population. Dominican’s four-year graduation rate is 27 points ahead of the national average and more than double that of the California State University system.

Now recognized by the Department of Education as a Minority Serving Institution (MSI), Dominican has received in recent years $6 million in federal grants to fund the undergraduate and graduate La Vida programs, which promote the success of Latinx and other BIPOC students through specialized outreach, mentorship, and resources.

Dominican currently has 2,093 undergraduate and graduate (master’s and doctoral) students, up from 2,052 in 2023. About a quarter of Dominican’s undergraduates are the first generation in their family to attend college, and about one-third of all undergraduates are eligible for Pell and Cal Grants.

The number of student-athletes has increased from 170 to 300 since 2020, as the University added teams and bolstered student-athlete recruitment. This year, the university doubled the number of transfer student-athletes to 77 and recruited 125 first-year student-athletes (a record high). Last year, Dominican ranked in the top 10 schools nationally to receive the NCAA Presidents' Award for Academic Excellence. Dominican was the only NCAA Division II school in Northern California on the 2023 list. The award is presented annually to NCAA Division II schools that have achieved a four-cohort Academic Success Rate (ASR) of 90% or higher. Dominican’s ASR is 94%.

East Bay Teacher of Color Scholarship, Marin Teacher of Color Scholarship
The East Bay Teacher of Color Scholarship was established in 2022 with a $100,000 anonymous gift. The donors have increased their contribution to $250,000 this year, which will enable Dominican to provide support for up to 35 additional teacher candidates. With preference given to Latinx and African American students planning to teach in Alameda and Contra Costa County public schools, the East Bay Teacher of Color Scholarship seeks to reflect the State’s diverse student population in the diversity of its teachers.

The East Bay Teacher of Color Scholarship was inspired by the Marin Teacher of Color Scholarship, an award created in 2020 with a $300,0000 gift by the same anonymous donors to address the shortage of teachers of color working in Marin County’s public schools. The donors recently gifted an additional $75,000 toward the Marin Teacher of Color Scholarship program.

The Teacher of Color Scholarship awards cover up to 50% of tuition while the student is either completing the teaching credential portion of Dominican’s MS in Education degree or taking courses towards their teaching credential as part of their bachelor’s degree in Education Studies. To date, 61 teachers have received support from these two meaningful teaching scholarships.

Integrative Coaching
Integrative coaches comprise Dominican faculty and staff who also specialize in supporting students holistically. The $150,000 gift will support the expansion of Dominican’s cadre of integrative coaches, growing our capacity to provide personalized guidance throughout the academic journey. Integrative coaches not only teach courses aimed at enhancing student success but also work closely with students to facilitate a seamless transition into college life, develop tailored education and career plans, and assist in creating and refining digital portfolios.

You May Also Like