Dominican University


50 Acacia Avenue
San Rafael, CA 94901
415-457-4440 or 1-888-323-6763

The history of Dominican University of California can be traced back to 1850.  As Bishop Alemany was returning to his new post in California, he stopped in Paris and expressed his desire to have a few Dominican sisters join him to teach the children of the forty-niners. Mary Goemaere (1809-1891) volunteered to accompany the new Bishop and to begin a school in his new diocese.

After months of traveling, Sister Mary and two priests arrived in Monterey, where a house served as a convent and school.  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) was responsible for moving the central administration, a school, and novitiate from Benicia to San Rafael in 1889.  In 1890 the Congregation of the Most Holy Name, more commonly known as the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael, 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, named after St. Dominic de Guzman, became a reality.  Dominican College was the first Catholic college in California to grant the B.A. degree to women.

To house the college students more land and buildings were needed. In 1918 Meadowlands, the summer home of the Michael de Young family, was purchased.  More history found here.

Dominican educates and prepares students to be ethical leaders and socially responsible global citizens who incorporate the Dominican values of study, reflection, community and service into their lives. The University is committed to diversity, sustainability and the integration of the liberal arts, the sciences and professional programs.  Dominican offers more than 60 programs of study, reflecting the diversity and creativity of our faculty, students, and location.

Dominican University is the perfect backdrop to host your special event. Please click here for more information, or call Events Management Office at 415-485-3228.