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Donor Profiles

Dianne Bonino
Dianne Bonino

Class of ’76, SCU Student Emergency Assistance Fund Donor

As she’s sheltered in place for a while now, Dianne admits that when walking with her family, “It’s like you're looking for other people to talk to.” They’re grateful to be together at home, but still thinking about how much has changed in all of our lives so suddenly and worrying for those who are suffering.

But caring for others has always been part of Dianne’s character; it’s how she was raised. It is also how she and her husband Mark, ’76 J.D., have raised their children (their daughter Julie is Class of ’09). Dianne comes from a long line of Broncos—three of her siblings graduated from Santa Clara, and her dad was an alumnus as well. And so was her well-known uncle and cherished Jesuit, Fr. Bill Donnelly. “When I was there, he was not only teaching economics, he was also the Academic Vice President.” She adds with a chuckle, “Kind of rough going for a little bit.” But it was the lessons she learned about Cura Personalis, “care for the entire person,” that really stuck with her. 

Dianne has been an actively engaged member of the Santa Clara community since her graduation. She’s been a loyal member and former president of the Catala Club, helping to raise money for student scholarships, and served on the Board of Regents during her presidency. To say she has given back is an understatement. The time and treasure she has invested to promote the University’s mission and support our students is a testament to her faith in Jesuit education. 

But when pressed as to why she gives to the SCU Student Emergency Assistance Fund, she gives a very personal answer. “In September of 1973, I hadn't even gone back to school yet. I was going to be a sophomore and my dad died suddenly.” Without warning, her life, the lives of her siblings, and her mother, changed in instant. Just as it has for countless others right now--many who are current students. At that time, so much was uncertain for Dianne. Amidst her sadness, there was also the thought of her dad being the sole provider, the one who put food on the table. How could she possibly cover school costs before her mother could even settle with the insurance company and meet their family’s basic needs?  

It was a conversation she had with Fr. William Rewak, the rector at that time, who told her that there was a way to help her through this tragedy and to keep her at school. It was the SCU Student Emergency Assistance Fund. Feeling an incredible sense of relief, Dianne was beyond grateful. “But, I'll never forget what he said next.” She goes on, “He told me that I have to pay it back.” He didn’t mean financially, but at the time, she was thinking, “I’m making $1.50 an hour in the cafeteria busing trays, how am I going to do that?” “Oh no, no, I mean pay it forward,” Fr. Rewak quickly clarified. Relieved to hear those words, it's been a belief she’s held close to heart. And she’s been paying it forward ever since. Helping students like Mai Sinada so they, in turn, can make a better future for all of humankind. 

-Carrie Jensen