Gael Gratitude - Jim Jenner, a friend of SMC and an avid women's basketball fan

Saint Mary's College has received a $1.2 million planned gift from the estate of James R. Jenner (Jim), friend of the College and avid women's basketball fan.

A renowned and respected attorney, author, and public speaker, Jim was a former public defender for Alameda County, leading the office for several years.

After graduating from UC Berkeley, magna cum laude, Jim enrolled in the U.S. Army, where he served as a Russian translator and military intelligence interrogator. He earned a law degree from UC Berkeley law school, and then did advanced studies at the University of Madrid as a Ford Foundation Scholar. Jim had a national reputation as a trial lawyer, and was in high demand as a speaker. He was a respected writer, credited with many publications on criminal procedure and practice. Jim also wrote poetry and short stories, and was described by many as a compelling storyteller.

An avid hiker, climber and runner, Jim began his lifelong love of mountaineering in the Colorado Rockies. Jim climbed over 1,000 peaks worldwide, including 39 ascents of Mount Shasta. Jim also ran more than 20 marathons, and rarely missed a Bay to Breakers race in San Francisco. Together with his beloved wife Mina, an avid hiker and climber in her own right, the couple climbed to the highest points in 50 states, and traveled the world together.

Jim and Mina also shared a passion for basketball, attending most women's basketball games at UC Berkeley, USF, and Saint Mary's.

"Jim was a true friend of the College," said Doug Hansen, director of planned giving. "He was passionate about our women's basketball program and he and Mina were regular fixtures at their games; they also enjoyed attending events at the Saint Mary's College Museum of Art."

The gift was a bequest from Jim's estate and will greatly benefit the College's endowment while also providing funding to make an immediate impact on the lives of students. The College's endowment is the cornerstone of its financial stability, representing funding that is not dependent upon enrollment, tuition, or annual giving. Endowment funds support scholarships, professorships, and programs in perpetuity for many future generations of Gaels. This generous unrestricted gift will also allow Saint Mary's the flexibility to address current needs-which includes things such as classroom technology, tuition assistance, or student life activities.

"Remembering Saint Mary's College with a bequest from your estate will strengthen the fiscal sustainability of the College," said Hansen. "It also provides a wonderful opportunity to honor a family member or support a favorite cause. We are very grateful to the Jenner family."


We thank the Gael community for all of the support they have shown Saint Mary's College of California. For more information about leaving your legacy at SMC, please contact Douglas D. Hansen at or (925) 631-4218.