World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Dominican University of California

Article Id: WHEBN0001241061
Reproduction Date:

Title: Dominican University of California  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Dominican Penguins, Philip Novak, Cynthia Stokes Brown, California Pacific Conference, Angela Salinas
Collection: 1890 Establishments in California, Buildings and Structures in San Rafael, California, California Pacific Conference, Council of Independent Colleges, Dominican Universities and Colleges in the United States, Dominican University of California, Education in San Rafael, California, Educational Institutions Established in 1890, Former Women's Universities and Colleges in the United States, Liberal Arts Colleges, Roman Catholic Universities and Colleges in California, Roman Catholic Universities and Colleges in the United States, Schools Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Universities and Colleges in Marin County, California
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Dominican University of California

For other colleges with the same name, see Dominican College
Dominican University of California
Former names
Dominican College
Motto Veritas Fax Ardens (Latin)
Motto in English
Truth is a Flaming Torch
Established 1890
Type Private Nonprofit Coeducational
Endowment $26 million
President Mary B. Marcy, D.Phil.
Academic staff
Students 2,207
Undergraduates 1,628
Postgraduates 579
Location San Rafael, California, USA
Campus Suburban, 80 acres (32 ha)
Colors      Black
Athletics NCAA Division IIPacWest
Sports 11 varsity teams
Nickname Penguins
Mascot Chilly the Penguin
Affiliations NAICU CIC

Dominican University of California is a 2,200-student institution in San Rafael, California.

Founded in 1890 as Dominican College by the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael, Dominican is one of the oldest universities in California.


  • History 1
    • Early history 1.1
    • Academic timeline 1.2
  • Basic information 2
  • Campus 3
    • Residence halls 3.1
    • Points of interest 3.2
      • Ansel Adams Collection 3.2.1
      • Della Robia Collection 3.2.2
      • Forest Meadows Amphitheater 3.2.3
    • Off-campus sites 3.3
      • Ukiah Center 3.3.1
  • Academics 4
    • Schools/departments 4.1
    • Accreditation 4.2
  • Organization and administration 5
    • Leadership 5.1
    • Deans 5.2
    • Associated Students 5.3
  • Student life 6
    • Athletics 6.1
    • Traditions 6.2
      • Shield Ceremony 6.2.1
      • Convocation/Family Weekend (formerly Spirit Week) 6.2.2
      • Senior thesis 6.2.3
      • Baccalaureate Mass, Hood Ceremony, Commencement 6.2.4
    • Clubs and organizations 6.3
  • Notable people 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


Early history

The history of Dominican University of California can be traced back to 1850. It was in this year that Joseph Sadoc Alemany was appointed Bishop of Monterey. At the time of this appointment, he was in Italy attending a meeting of the Dominican Order, a Roman Catholic religious order founded by Saint Dominic de Guzmán in France in 1216.

Bishop Joseph Alemany

As Bishop Alemany was returning to his new post in California, he stopped in Paris at the Dominican Monastery of the Cross and expressed his desire to have a few Dominican Sisters join him to teach the children of the Forty-niners. A Belgian novice, Sister Mary of the Cross Goemaere (1809-1891) volunteered to accompany the new bishop and to begin a school in his new diocese. Within three years, nine women (three American, one Mexican, and five Spanish) joined Sister Mary to form the Congregation of the Most Holy Name. In 1854, the Dominicans moved to Benicia.

Following the leadership of Mother Mary Goemaere, Mother Louis O'Donnell (1887-1929) moved the motherhouse, a school and novitiate from Benicia to San Rafael in 1889.

In 1890 the Congregation of the Most Holy Name, under the auspices of Mother O'Donnell, filed Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State of California. With the encouragement of faculty of the University of California in Berkeley, a junior college was opened in 1915, and in 1917 a four-year college, Dominican College, was formed. At that point Dominican College became the first Catholic college in California to grant the bachelor's degree to women. Originally a female-only institution, Dominican College became coeducational in 1971.

Academic timeline

  • 1917 – Dominican became the first Catholic college in California to grant the bachelor's degree to women.
  • 1924 – The State Board of Education certifies Dominican to recommend candidates for public school teaching credentials.
  • 1926 – Dominican was placed on the approved list of the Association of American Universities.
  • 1931 – Dominican College of San Rafael was recognized by the American Association of University Women and in 1932, the Marin County Chapter of that group was established
  • 1931 – Dominican became a member of the Northwestern Association of Colleges.
  • 1950 – Dominican opened its graduate program to men.
  • 1963 – Archbishop Alemany Library opened.
  • 1971 – Dominican became fully coeducational.
  • 1984 – Dominican opens the Ukiah Center, in Mendocino County, creating a satellite campus offering Teacher Credential Programs and MS in Education Programs
  • 1990 – Dominican's Nursing program received accreditation from the National League of Nursing.
  • 2000 – Dominican College of San Rafael becomes Dominican University of California
  • 2006 – Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance program initiated
  • 2007 – Dominican opens a new Science Center
  • 2009 – Dominican's School of Business and Leadership was accepted into the Association of Asia Pacific Business Schools
  • 2010 – Dominican opened a federally funded national research facility focused on Sudden Oak Death
  • 2012 – Dominican received an $8 million-plus gift to update Meadowlands Hall
  • 2014 - The University's School of Business and Leadership is renamed the Andrew P. Barowsky School of Business

Basic information

The campus is located in San Rafael, California, 15 miles north of San Francisco.

Class size averages 16, with a student to faculty ratio of 10:1. Dominican is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Four classifications of undergraduate degrees are offered: BA, BFA, BS, and BSN.

For the 2013-2014 academic year tuition is $40,150.[1] In the 2012-13 academic year 82.7% of undergraduate students received needs based financial aid. [2] In fall of 2012, 425 undergraduate students and 134 graduate students were admitted. The total student body was 2,207, including 1,628 undergraduates, and 579 graduate students. 74% of all students were female--the average age of undergraduates was 24 years, graduate students 35 years, and all students 30 years. Students of color comprised 44% of undergrads, 23% of graduates students, and 39% overall. Students from 27 states and 19 nations are represented in the student body with 3% from other nations. 91% of students are from California. 88% of freshmen and 33% of all undergraduates reside on campus.

The school is a member of National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II, and competes in the Pacific West Conference.


Dominican occupies approximately 80 acres (32 ha) in central Marin County in the City of San Rafael. It is situated in a residential neighborhood at the base of San Pedro Mountain. The gardens of the University are a combination of four former family estates and contain over 100 species of trees. A seasonal creek flows east to west through the middle of campus.

Residence halls

Almost 90% of freshmen live on-campus. Freshmen are automatically guaranteed a residency on campus while sophomores, juniors and seniors receive on-campus housing through a lottery. All residence halls are co-ed with gender specific bathrooms. Each hall has a "resident advisor" who oversees the students.

Points of interest

Ansel Adams Collection

In the 1980s, an alumna remembered that she had her picture taken when she was a student at the college in the 1950s. She went in search of the print. While she didn't find her photograph, nearly 100 original Ansel Adams photographs were discovered scattered across campus. These photographs, taken by the not-yet-famous Adams between 1932 and 1952, are part of the Dominican private collection.

Della Robia Collection

Enameled terra-cotta sculptures grace the entryways to Meadowlands Hall, Guzman Hall, Archbishop Alemany Library and Caleruega Hall. These terra-cotta sculptures have been made for centuries by the Della Robia family, a famous Florentine family of sculptors and ceramicists which started with Luca della Robbia.

Forest Meadows Amphitheater

Forest Meadows Amphitheater

Forest Meadows Amphitheater is an amphitheater on Dominican's Campus. While it used to hold the University's Commencement ceremonies, the amphitheater is now used by the Marin Shakespeare Company during the Shakespeare Festival in the fall. The company has been using the amphitheater since 1967.

Off-campus sites

Ukiah Center

In addition to the San Rafael main campus, Dominican also has a satellite campus in Ukiah, California, in Mendocino County, California. Established in 1984, the Ukiah Center, located in the Mendocino County Office of Education, offers Teacher Credential Programs and MS in Education Programs.


Dominican focuses on interdisciplinary studies. In the sciences, the University involves undergraduates in sophisticated research projects, and encourages students to present at national academic conferences and publish in peer-reviewed journals. In the humanities, students can combine dance and musical performance with the study of philosophy, literature, world cultures, and religion. Dominican also offers undergraduate and graduate programs in business, education, counseling psychology, occupational therapy and nursing. It follows a semester system: Fall (August–December) and Spring (January–May). Classes are also offered in the summer.


The University is organized into four schools with the following departments:

School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

  • Art, Art History and Design
  • Communications and Media Studies
  • History
  • Humanities and Cultural Studies
  • Literature and Languages
  • Music, Dance and Performing Arts
  • Political Science and International Studies
  • Religion and Philosophy
  • Women and Gender Studies

Barowsky School of Business

  • Business

School of Education and Counseling Psychology

  • Counseling Psychology
  • Education
  • Psychology

School of Health and Natural Sciences

  • Natural Sciences and Mathematics
  • Nursing
  • Occupational Therapy


Organization and administration

Dominican is a non-profit organization, governed by a privately appointed Board of Trustees, along with the University President, Provost, Vice-Presidents and Deans. The Board currently has 30 voting members who serve three 3-year terms and meet four times annually. The Trustees elect a President to serve as the general manager and chief executive of the university. Mary B. Marcy was appointed the 9th President of the University in July 2011.


  • President: Mary B. Marcy, D.Phil
  • Senior Advisor for Strategy and Planning: Hanna Rodriguez-Farrar, Ph.D., Ed.D.
  • Vice Presidents: Kathleen Krueger Park, M.A.; Peter Johnson, M.A.; Nicola Pitchford, Ph.D


  • School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences: Laura Stivers, Ph.D.
  • Andrew P. Barowsky School of Business: Sam Beldona, Ph.D.
  • School of Education and Counseling Psychology: Robin Gayle, Ph.D., acting dean
  • School of Health and Natural Sciences: Ching-Hua Wang, M.D., Ph.D.

Associated Students

The Associated Students of Dominican University (ASDU) is the student government for Dominican and helps students plan and provide campus activities, distribute activity funds, initiate changes in policy, and represent themselves to the University’s administration and the broader community. This group of elected student representatives serves both as the student activities association and the student government board. The members of the ASDU Senate are composed of representatives from all four class levels of regular day program students.

Student life


The Dominican Penguins are the athletics teams for Dominican University of California. Since 2005, the Penguins have competed in the NCAA Division II, Pacific West Conference. The university currently fields 11 teams: Men's Basketball, Cross Country, Golf, and Soccer; Women's Basketball, Cross Country, Golf, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, and Volleyball. Dominican also supports Men's Lacrosse, which competes in MCLA Division I. [3]


Shield Ceremony

Shield Ceremony at Dominican University of California

Each fall, the university holds a Shield Ceremony, a tradition that started in the 12th century when Saint Dominic Guzman created the Dominican order. It now continues every fall during Convocation, when the Dominican seniors officially greet the incoming freshmen with a special gift: an illustration of a shield that reflects an inspirational motto. The motto, written by the seniors, is intended to help guide the freshmen throughout their college years and beyond. Four years later at Commencement, a hand-crafted wood carving of the illustrated shield is presented to the graduating class. All of Dominican's shields, dating back to the early 1920s, are displayed on campus in the Meadowlands Residence Hall, Guzman Lecture Hall and the Shield Room.

Convocation/Family Weekend (formerly Spirit Week)

Once a year, Dominican invites all students and their families for a three day celebration of the University and its students. It opens on Friday night with Convocation, a celebration of the academic achievements of Dominican students. Throughout the weekend, all are invited to explore the campus, attend special classes, meet with the President and faculty and cheer on the Dominican Penguins at competitive games. Family Weekend concludes on Sunday with an athletic scrimmage and tailgate party.

Senior thesis

Most academic departments at Dominican require a senior thesis/project, a one-year culminating experience that offers evidence of accomplishment in a discipline or area of inquiry. Like a master’s thesis, the senior thesis gives students an opportunity as undergraduates, to explore in- depth issues that interest them. The major determines the nature of the thesis/project, which can take many forms: a research document, a novel, a business plan, a portfolio of poetry, or original works of art.

Baccalaureate Mass, Hood Ceremony, Commencement

Held the day prior to Commencement, Baccalaureate Mass is a unique tradition that reflects Dominican's Catholic heritage. The Mass, planned and led by members of the graduating classes, is held at St. Raphael's Church in downtown San Rafael. Students and their families, faculty, staff and friends of the University are invited to attend.

On the eve of Commencement, Dominican honors the academic achievement of graduating students with The Hood Ceremony. Each graduating senior and graduate student receives a hood, which is a colorful, historic symbol of scholastic excellence. This ceremony is a time-honored tradition in which the students and faculty wear their academic regalia. Conferral of the hood symbolizes that students have joined the community of educated people.

On a Saturday morning in May, the campus community joins graduating students, their families and friends for Commencement. The Dominican tradition includes a procession led by a bagpiper.

Clubs and organizations

There are more than forty student clubs and organizations at Dominican with categories including Athletics, Campus Diversity, Religious, Social and Major-Related.

Notable people

  • Marion Irvine, "The Flying Nun", broke numerous age-group records in distance running events. In 2006, Major General Angela Salinas was the first Hispanic female to become a United States Marine Corps general officer.
  • Abigail Kinoiki Kekaulike Kawānanakoa, is a member of the House of Kawānanakoa. She is commonly referred to as a princess despite never officially being granted such a title.
  • Killian Larson, is an American professional basketball player who currently plays for Salon Vilpas of the Finnish Korisliiga
  • Angela Salinas, Major General,Marine Corps Base Quantico.
  • Melba Beals, a journalist, was among the nine African-American teenagers who over 50 years ago advanced the civil rights movement with the integration of Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas.[4] Today, Beals lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, and teaches journalism at Dominican University of California, where she is the chair of the communications department.[5]

See also


  1. ^ "Dominican University of California". Retrieved 5 July 2013. 
  2. ^ "US News and World Report". Retrieved 5 July 2013. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Melba Beals To Be Honored for her Role in Civil Rights Movement". Dominican University of California. Retrieved May 29, 2013. 
  5. ^ Department of Communications, Dominican University of California .

External links

  • Dominican University of California
  • Dominican University of California Athletics
  • Dominican Facts
  • Dominican History
  • Dominican Press
  • History page at Dominican University website, gives former name of institution
  • About Dominican page at Dominican University website
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.