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Donor Profiles

Three women students headshot
Michele Barnett Gaskill

Alumna, Consultant, Community Volunteer, and Mom, Michele Barnett Gaskill '02, lives her life in the Jesuit spirit.

If you looked up the word multi-tasker, I am pretty sure you would see Michele Barnett Gaskill’s picture. She is a busy mother of two active daughters, Briana, SCU Class of 2025, and Kayla, a junior at Saint Francis High School, is a consultant, and still makes it a priority to help others—including deserving students from her alma mater. Michele has been giving to SCU since she was a student. In recent years, she played a major role in the success of our annual Day of Giving and continues to encourage others to donate to the University and the Santa Clara Fund.

When asked what inspires her to contribute to the Santa Clara Fund she says, “I appreciate that it supports students in a variety of ways, including scholarships and student programs, and is directed toward the greatest good—I have always believed that Santa Clara University offers the best education in the country, and I am glad to be a part of sharing that opportunity with others.”

As an engaged benefactor, Michele is inspired to support the University because she believes it is important to give back to the community that has given so much to her and her family. “I, like many people in the Santa Clara community, just do things because they are the right thing to do. It is not even a conscious decision. We are intrinsically driven.”

This mindset has helped Michele become the person she is today. She embodies the Jesuit values she learned twenty years ago and strives to be part of creating a more humane, just, and equitable society. Michele appreciates that “a common theme throughout the SCU community is that everyone enjoys lives of conscientious leadership and compassionate service.”

And service is something that Michele is most passionate about. She serves on SCU’s Parent and Family Leadership Council, participates in Alumni for Others, and consistently provides necessities to the SCU Food Insecurity Program. She is also the Founder and Director of Helping Hands Volunteers, coordinating service events with a variety of organizations, particularly helping homeless and low-income individuals and families. As a student, Michele volunteered through the Santa Clara Community Action Program (SCCAP) and the Pedro Arrupe SJ Center—something Briana is also planning to do as a Bronco. In fact, both daughters are following in their mother’s footsteps by volunteering together regularly for several worthy organizations.

Michele shares how she feels about making a positive impact for our students and so many others in our extended community, “I love knowing that I have scattered little pieces of my heart throughout campus and the community,” she says, and “I enjoy living by my motto: Brighten your little corner of the community and together we can make the world a brighter place.” It is clear that Michele and her daughters are always willing to share their light.

-Carrie Jensen