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Joan and Robert P. McGrath give $10 million for USF education institute

April 27, 2017

Joan McGrath, University of San Francisco MA ’69, and her husband Robert have donated $10 million to USF to expand scholarships for Catholic school teaching programs at USF’s School of Education, create a new multidisciplinary student leadership institute and endow scholarships for undergraduate students to enroll in international immersion opportunities, USF announced April 13.

The McGrath gift represents the largest gift in history for USF’s School of Education, and will provide new opportunities across the university for both undergraduate and graduate students to engage in leadership programs and international immersion opportunities.

“Joan and Bob have made a gift that will have great impact, giving students access to global opportunities and furthering USF’s leadership in Catholic education,” said USF president Jesuit Father Paul Fitzgerald.

More than half of the McGraths’ gift, $6 million, will endow scholarships for graduate education students in the new McGrath Institute for Jesuit Catholic Education, which re-envisions USF’s Institute for Catholic Educational Leadership. The institute will recruit teachers, counselors and administrators committed to working at under-resourced Catholic schools and provide scholarships for advanced degrees at USF. Coursework will focus on contemporary Catholic school issues, including school consolidation, management styles, finance and multicultural education. The gift will also support scholarly research.

The gift “will help us meet the needs of Catholic schools in developing strong, ethics-oriented curricula and provide financial support for Catholic educators,” said Michael Duffy, associate dean of the USF School of Education. “This is vital in this economic climate, and will help cultivate education leaders who can relate the complexities of the modern world to Catholic education.”

The McGrath Center will also support USF School of Education student presentations at academic conferences, professional development workshops and Catholic educational gatherings in local school communities.

The gift includes $3 million to create the “Change the World From Here” Institute at USF, which will fund scholarships for students who show leadership potential, regardless of their discipline. USF’s University Ministry will also receive a $1 million endowment to provide undergraduate scholarships to international immersion programs. The Arrupe Immersion Program developed by University Ministry provides international and domestic experiences for students, faculty and staff to live, work and reflect in economically marginalized communities.

Joan and Bob McGrath have a long history of leadership in business, Catholic education and service. In 1979, Bob founded the McGrath RentCorp, which rents modular buildings, industrial liquid storage tanks and electronic measurement equipment. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1955 with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.

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