Diversity and Inclusion

The Advancement Office at Saint Mary’s College believes that Black Lives Matter and we stand in solidarity with those who protest injustice and rise up against systemic racism.

The Advancement Office is committed to using the power of philanthropy to create and sustain inclusive pathways for Black students and other students of color seeking our transformative education. 

Our mission calls us to be responsive to social and ethical concerns; it also calls us to use our words and our actions to uphold the inherent goodness, dignity, and freedom of each person. We humbly accept responsibility for any deeds, assumptions, or communications that have led us astray from these core values. We can do better, and the pain and grief of our colleagues and our community compel us to take action. 

To our Black colleagues, alumni, donors, volunteers and students: we see you, we hear you, and we believe your lives matter.  

To our White and non-Black colleagues of color: we challenge you to join us and take action by encouraging others to learn more about what it means to stand in solidarity with our Black community members; to connect others to resources that foster personal and collective growth and change and to be actively anti-racist.

We pledge to:

  • Accept responsibility for educating ourselves about white privilege and systemic racism and the influence both have in the broad field of higher education Advancement and our specific work at Saint Mary’s;
  • Examine our engagement, volunteer management, and fundraising traditions so we may challenge the assumptions and disrupt the behaviors that oppress members of our community;
  • Identify and prioritize the work needed to fully welcome and celebrate the contributions and Gael spirit of Black students, alumni, donors, parents, colleagues, and friends; and
  • Amplify messages, images, and actions stemming from our community that affirm Black lives, assume respect for all, and align fully with Saint Mary’s commitment to inclusive excellence. 

We welcome your partnership and your investment in this shared work. Please read below to learn more about the engagement and fundraising opportunities currently offered at Saint Mary’s College that are supporting Black students and other historically underrepresented and underserved members of our community.

Mahershala Ali with Moonlight scholars

Moonlight Scholarship

Inspired and created in collaboration with Saint Mary’s alumnus and acclaimed actor, Mahershala Ali ’96, the Moonlight Scholarship provides important financial support above and beyond other need-based assistance to students in the College’s High Potential (HP) program.

The HP program fosters student success by drawing on the strengths and resiliency of first generation and/or low-income scholars and leaders as they transition from high school to college and then the world beyond.

Intercultraul Center students smiling

Intercultural Center Fund

The Intercultural Center strives to create a safe and supportive learning environment that values diversity and builds an inclusive community. Through our co-curricular programs and services, the IC promotes cultural competence and social justice. The Intercultural Center is the moderator of the Black Student Union and the annual Expressions of Blackness celebration. Your support helps us create a community that values diversity in all its forms.

John Dennis

Dr. John Dennis High Potential Scholarship

The Dr. John Dennis High Potential Annual Scholarship Fund honors an exuberant man of faith and a dedicated, demanding and beloved instructor for three decades at the College. He was killed in his Oakland Hills home in 2008. Gifts to the fund in his name will support students in the High Potential Program, which Dr. Dennis led. The HP Program fosters student success by drawing on the strengths and resiliency of first generation and/or low-income scholars and leaders as they transition from high school to college.

Odell Johnson

Odell Johnson Jr. Endowment

Odell Johnson’s ’58 generosity of time, mentorship and philanthropic commitment led to the establishment of this endowed scholarship to benefit undergraduate African American students. Odell has been recognized as one of SMC’s Top 25 all-time men’s basketball student-athletes, WCC Hall of Honor and the 2016 Saint Mary’s College Alumni of the Year. He served Saint Mary’s College as the Dean of Men, then became the Dean of Students in 1970. His long career in higher education culminated in serving 17 years as the President of Laney College in Oakland. He is an engaged mentor to the Black Student Union, Black Alumni Chapter and many other members of the Saint Mary’s College community.

Arthur Curley holds a camera

Arthur Winn-Curley Book Scholarship

This fund is named in honor of Arthor Winn-Curley ’08, who passed away in 2014, who was a very active student leader in the Intercultural Center and other areas of campus, such as the High Potential Program, student government, and diversity clubs. He went on to become a Lasallian volunteer and then a teacher for The Doe Fund, an organization in New York that works to break the cycles of homelessness, addiction, and criminal recidivism. This fund grants up to $250 to buy textbooks.