The University of San Francisco has announced a $10 million gift from trustee Joan McGrath and her husband, Bob, to expand scholarships for its Catholic school teaching programs, create a multidisciplinary student leadership institute, and expand international student immersion opportunities.
More than half the gift, $6 million, will endow scholarships for education graduate students in the newly established McGrath Institute for Jesuit Catholic Education, which will recruit teachers, counselors, and administrators committed to working at underresourced Catholic schools and provide them with scholarships while they pursue an advanced degree. The institute also will support scholarly research and provide students with a variety of professional development opportunities.
In addition, the gift includes $3 million to create the Change the World From Here Institute and fund scholarships for students who show leadership potential, regardless of their chosen field of study. The remaining $1 million will endow scholarships for undergraduate students who want to enroll in international immersion courses through the University Ministry’s Arrupe Immersion Program.
At 17, Joan entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange as a nun and later earned a theology degree from Marymount College. She then enrolled in USF’s graduate theology program and pursued a doctorate at Fordham University before returning to the Bay Area to teach high school in the 1970s. In 1982, she married Bob McGrath, who had earned an electrical engineering degree from the University of Notre Dame and started McGrath RentCorp, renting modular buildings, industrial liquid storage tanks, and electronic measurement equipment.
"We are so grateful for the generosity of Joan and Bob McGrath," said Julie Dowd, director of University Ministry at USF. "By establishing this endowment for the Arrupe Immersion Program, we will be able to send more students on these transformative experiences. The big dream is to eventually provide funding so that any USF student with need who wants to go on an immersion trip will have the chance to do so."