The Sabatte Family Endowed Scholarship

A Great Dairy and a Tradition of Lasallian Education Adds Up to a Lasting Legacy

Mary Sabatte helps in the milk processing room at the South Berkeley Creamery in 1913.The John A. and Mary M. Sabatte Family Endowed Scholarship was created in 1985 in memory of the founders of Berkeley Farms Dairy, for their love of Saint Mary’s College and its mission. Thanks to a significant bequest of more than $3.5 million by Remond Sabatte ’45 and additional gifts by Sabatte family members, the fund has grown over time to $6,871,000 and is now the largest scholarship fund at Saint Mary’s College. Each year, the fund generates enough income to help support the undergraduate education of more than 50 young Gaels.

The company behind the Sabatte legacy began in 1910, when French immigrants John and Mary Sabatte opened the South Berkeley Creamery at 58th and Adeline Streets in Oakland. Today, as Saint Mary’s College celebrates its 150th anniversary, Berkeley Farms turns 102 years old. Since its first days as a single horse and buggy route in South Berkeley, Berkeley Farms has evolved from a home delivery supplier to a milk company serving institutional and grocery trades throughout much of California. Just as John Sabatte, the poor boy from France, left his sons and grandchildren a legacy of a great and growing dairy, the Sabatte family has left a legacy for Saint Mary’s with this endowed scholarship fund, which will provide support for students’ education in perpetuity.

Berkeley Farms founder John A. Sabatte stands with his milk-route drivers in 1934.Probably no other Bay Area consumer product has continually brought the “Berkeley” name into the homes of millions of consumers throughout the years. Berkeley Farms’ advertising phrase – “Farms in Berkeley?” accompanied by a cow’s assenting “Moooo!” – became iconic, thanks largely to the radio commercial’s voice of San Francisco native Mel Blanc, best known for his cartoon voices of Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Elmer Fudd and countless other Looney Tune characters. San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen once remarked that it was “the most successful and longest running advertising slogan in Bay Area history.”

Equally long-lived is the history of Sabattes who have attended Saint Mary’s College, as well as Saint Mary’s College High School in Berkeley.  The Sabatte family’s enduring relationship  with the Christian Brothers  —including the Brother’s honoring John J. Sabatte, Jr.’s extraordinary service in 1994 with letters of affiliation—inspired the generous bequest and gifts that established the eponymous family endowed scholarship that continues to help fulfill the educational mission of the College.


Chris Beck '12, Sabatte scholarship recipientIn the decades of the fund’s existence, the Sabatte Family Endowed Scholarship has assisted many students (like Chris Beck ’12, featured to the right), providing them the gift of Saint Mary’s life-defining education. Through their generosity and forward thinking, the Sabatte family has left a significant legacy at the College that will live on for generations to come. Speaking on behalf of the extended family, Saint Mary’s Regent Gary Sabatte reflected, “We are thrilled to see so many students benefit from this scholarship support. Three generations of the Sabatte family were educated by the Christian Brothers, and we are glad this fund lives on in perpetuity so many others can have this remarkable Lasallian experience as well.”

Be recognized by Saint Mary's as a Brother U. Albert Rahill Society Donor simply by letting us know that you've included the College in your estate plan, will or trust, life insurance policy, qualified retirement plan, gift annuity, charitable remainder trust, retained life estate or lead trust. Please contact Doug Hansen for details at (925) 631-4218.