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MSMU Receives $15 Million Gift

The Transformative Donation from Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott Will Support New Programs and Expanded Opportunities for Students

December 22, 2020

Mount Saint Mary’s University has received a generous $15 million gift from author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. The unrestricted donation, the largest in the university’s history, will go far to support the Mount’s mission of equity and inclusion in support of student success.

“I am thrilled Mount Saint Mary’s is the recipient of this generous gift. Ms. Scott has been strategic with her philanthropy and laser-focused on the areas that reflect the ideals and values of a diverse, equitable and inclusive society. Mount Saint Mary’s has a long tradition of being on the forefront of women’s education and leadership development,” said Ann McElaney-Johnson, PhD, president of Mount Saint Mary’s University. “This donation will allow us to grow programs to help our students succeed, especially during these difficult times. These funds will be instrumental as we implement new and creative ways to continue graduating future leaders, who are ready for any challenge.”

The generous donation is the largest in the university's history.
The generous donation is the largest in the university's history.

Mount Saint Mary’s is among 384 leading non-profit institutions selected to receive a charitable gift from Scott, including more than 30 colleges across the country. Her team carefully selected organizations and organizational leadership for their transformative work in the areas of racial, LGBTQ, and gender equity, economic mobility, functional democracy, public health, global development, and climate change.

In a public announcement, Ms. Scott said that her team “took a data-driven approach to identifying organizations with strong leadership teams and results” that are “addressing long-term systemic inequalities that have been deepened by the crisis”, including “education for historically marginalized and underserved” communities.

Mount Saint Mary’s is ranked #1 in Social Mobility by the 2020-21 US News & World Report Best Colleges list, and #3 by MONEY Magazine on the Most Transformative list nationwide, reflecting the high value of a Mount education, and the impact it has on the lives of its students and families. The university is home to one of the most diverse undergraduate populations in the country, with 82% women of color, as well as the first women’s leadership program on the West Coast. For the past 95 years, the university has been graduating leaders poised to create positive change in their communities and around the world.

This donation comes at an important time for the university, which is launching a new five-year strategic plan that will further promote educational excellence, innovation and creativity, and diversity and inclusion. The funds from this gift will allow the university to create new academic programs that meet the needs of our students and society; expand women’s leadership initiatives with a focus on social justice issues locally, nationally and globally; establish cutting-edge learning technologies and educational spaces; build a healthy and vibrant learning environment; and invest in intensive experiential opportunities so our students can graduate ready to enter the workforce as effective and inclusive leaders. 

“The vast majority of our students come to us from vulnerable communities, and their lives are transformed at Mount Saint Mary’s. They graduate and lead lives filled with purpose. Our faculty and staff are integral to their success. This gift is a testament to the hard work and determination of our entire community. It will make an immediate difference in our students’ lives,” said Linda McMurdock, PhD, Vice President for Student Affairs at Mount Saint Mary’s University.