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MSMU Receives $15 Million Grant

Grant Will Support the Advancement of Women Leaders at Los Angeles’ Only Women’s University, One of the Most Diverse in the Nation.

December 15, 2020

Los Angeles (December 15, 2020) – Mount Saint Mary’s University, Los Angeles is proud and honored to announce a transformative gift of $15 million from author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.  

“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. 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,” said Dr. Ann McElaney-Johnson, President of Mount Saint Mary’s University, and Board Chair of the Women’s College Coalition.

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 Dr. Linda McMurdock, Vice President for Student Affairs at Mount Saint Mary’s University.


About Mount Saint Mary’s University: Mount Saint Mary’s University is the only women’s university in Los Angeles and one of the most diverse in the nation. The university is known nationally for its research on gender equity, innovative health and science programs, comprehensive Wellness Movement, and its commitment to community service and women’s leadership development. 

The Report on the Status of Women and Girls™, published since 2011, serves as a nationwide resource to researchers and policy makers, and highlights gender inequity issues still prevalent in society today. The Center for the Advancement of Women has published similar studies for policy makers throughout California, and was instrumental in research for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s policies on gender equity. 

As a leading liberal arts institution, Mount Saint Mary’s provides year-round, flexible and online programs at the undergraduate and graduate level. For more information, visit

Media Contact: Debbie Ream at or 310.709.1898.