Holy Names University was founded in 1868 when six Sisters of the Holy Names arrived in California from Montreal, Canada. The teaching order, founded to provide education to the poor, had been invited to Oakland by Father Michael King to establish a school for girls and to train future teachers.

Since that historic beginning nearly 150 years ago, HNU has served the Oakland community and the East Bay in many ways. The University has contributed significantly to the professional workforce of the area—graduating thousands of teachers, nurses, science majors, counseling psychology majors who have gone on to practice as marriage and family therapists, and business majors who have been an important part of the city’s thriving business community.

 

Partners, Honors and Family
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Alumni Stories
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Education: 2011

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“Holy Names provided a small college atmosphere and had strong professors with real life experience in elementary education.”

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Counseling: 2016

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“Diverse student population and fantastic professors. ”

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Education: 2016

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"HNU has been a pleasant place for me in regards to education. Ive enjoyed learning about being a excellent educator."

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Forensic Psychology: 2016

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“Holy Names University is awesome with support, academics (as in any master Program) it's hard work. It's intense and requires a lot of studying, research and writing. HNU encourages you to work while gaining your degree, this is the total opposite of most Grad programs. I'm excited and thankful for my admission.”

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Psychology: 2016

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“College opens up a lot of doors for you. Its key to your success that you study something you absolutely love.”

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Counseling: 2014

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“I have found the program to be intellectually stimulating and rewarding. Unfortunately, because we are a small school, classes aren't always held each semester requiring an extra semester to complete the program. I am hoping that is not the case for me.”

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Health Sciences: 2014

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“With many friends who are receiving Counseling Psychology graduate degrees at other nearby institutions, I am very pleased by Holy Names program that provides courses that integrate spirituality with counseling, as many other institutions do not.”

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Joseph Perez ’09, MA ‘11

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My favorite persons at HNU were Sister Mary Anderson and Dr. Daniel Schmidt. My favorite memories are the views of the Bay Area.

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Karen Collins Spencer ’66

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As much as I learned from and appreciated my classes at Holy Names, especially theology, political science, and history, my favorite memories revolve around Sister Mary Baptista. I certainly never had a class from her--she taught biology! She was in charge of student activities and was the perfect mentor for me when I served on the school Social Committee, as PR chair my sophomore year, Social Chairman my junior year and as a Resident Assistant my senior year. I have used that knowledge ever since, as a wife and mother, serving on boards, chairing fundraisers, and hosting events for our family, business and community. Thank you to all the Holy Names Sisters who showed me how to be a strong Catholic woman!

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M. Gayle Dickson ‘86

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All the instructors and counselors were knowledgeable, caring and uplifting.

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Mary Karne ‘76

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It's hard to pinpoint a favorite HNU memory.  I remember with great respect and admiration Dr. Sheila Gibson, Dr. Richard Yee, Sister Christina Weber, and the whole staff. I can truly say I never loved learning for its own sake until I went to HNU in my 50's!

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Carnella Gordon-Brown ‘89

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Oh, so many favorite persons at HNU but without a doubt Sister Rosemary and Dr. Sheila Gibson both profoundly assisted in helping me to believe in my self-worth as a person. Much love to you both!

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Mary Byrne Dawe ‘75

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My mentor Sister Paul Francis was the inspiration for my 40-year career in special education.

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Robert Jost ‘01

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While studying at HNC, I remember many people who have significantly and positively influenced me. However, I remember Sister Mary Anderson especially in classes and in conversations. She taught me, encouraged me and challenged me.

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Susan “Susie” Schnieders ‘68

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Great friends in our class that you can go years without seeing, get together and it's like you never left. Thank you to Sister Maureen Hester who gave me that strong foundation as a Psychology major that was so influential in continuing my education and leading me to a career as a college counselor. Memories of that Senior thesis still haunt me!

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Yong-Lang Kwan ‘70

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My 4 years at Holy Names is one of the most memorable periods of my life which I would love to 'relive'. Having a wonderful 'big sister' assigned made my first days in the states such an easy transition. It is near impossible to select a favorite person, place or thing about HNU as there are too many fond memories. One thing that my HNU friends and I often reminisce is the French Quarter in the dorm with Sister Anselm, where we would converse in French every weeknight to reinforce our classroom learning. Thank you HNU for the education that paved the way for my life long career.

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Nina Diamzon ’13

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My favorite thing at HNU were my professors but one in particular was Sr. Christine Patrinos who was my mentor at the time. She had a way of using "Tough Love" to get you thinking and moving. RIP Sr. Chris, I finally did it and I am eternally grateful!

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Kimberly Marlin Roberts ‘96

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Remembering having the AIDS quilt in the gym. Being a part of the ceremony was something that I will never forget. I loved the CORE festivals & the Founder's Day celebrations.

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Nicolas DeFendis ‘04

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My whole experience with all of Professors and fellow students was invaluable. Holy Names University instilled values while combining the structure and instruction needed for life. The campus is one of the most beautiful areas and always in my heart, everyone. Thank you, faculty and fellow classmates!

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Patricia Bridewell ‘03

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I would love to mention my professor's name, but cannot remember her full name. I believe her first name is Rebecca. She taught in the R.N. to BSN Program, which started in 1999. The University provided teleconference lectures through Kaiser Hospital, and she was one of the instructors. In 2002, she nominated me for membership in the Sigma Theta Tau International Society of Nursing, Nu-Xi Chapter.

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Kathleen Cummings-Jordan ’64, MA ‘72

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My favorite place at CHN was the library, my refuge for researching, doing homework, studying, and relaxing in the environment in which I found a focused peace. I loved studying there. I remember studying for my MA in Spanish at the same table every day. The library was so peaceful and quiet. I could study there for hours at a time. I felt so motivated when I opened those books to study.

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Kathleen Rebello Collins ‘68

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My favorite person, place, or thing about HNU: All the wonderful professors who gave me a great education in so many departments. I treasure my education and all the friendships I made.

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Thomas Payne ‘86

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My favorite person, place, or thing about HNU: The teachers... Dr. Richard Yee for Philosophy. Dr. Sheila Gibson for Logic. Rick Patrick for Calligraphy. The friends... Bets & Steve, Mo, Tweety, Nathan, Anne, Deb, Fern, Leslie, Michael, Chris, Erica, Pia, Terry & Ana. The campus… Hanging out in Brennan Hall and being a couch potato and founding member of the Commuter Club. Ascending and descending many flights of stairs. Being a bird during the Baccalaureate Mass for the reading of the Parable of the Sower of the Seed. A dude named Johnson.

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Kathy Donovan Perez ‘71

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Fond memories of Velma Richmond, Sr. Mary Madeline, Sister Irene and Sister June -- ignited my passion for creativity and teaching.

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Christina Merlos-Moscoso ‘10

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My favorite professors include many but most memorably Dr.(Anastasia) Prentiss for her wonderful spirit and joy in class; Dr. (Martivón) Galindo for her wealth of knowledge in the Latin American Studies Program; and Dr. (Kate) Isaacson for keeping me on track to the finish line, all were a TRUE Inspiration.

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Mary Davidson Vernon ‘66

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HNU was a friendly campus that inspired its students to serve our communities and to pursue enlightenment throughout our lives. I think we left Holy Names with an enthusiasm for who we could be as both a person and as an educated woman. For that, I am eternally grateful to the Sisters of the Holy Names. I am also thankful for all those steps up to the dorm: Great exercise!

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Polly Mayer, MEd ‘08

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My favorite person, place, or thing about HNU: Professor Marion Marshall and Sister Carol continue to provide encouragement and inspiration in my life and work.

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Niyana Barron-Avilez ‘04

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HNU has given me a wonderful foundation, that I appreciate even more as time passes. The 2nd floor biology department was my second home throughout my time at HNU.

 

Our Vision
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Inclusion

We will create an inclusive campus community that recognizes and considers the voices and contributions
of students, faculty, and staff in
University decision-making.

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SNJM Charism

We will be responsive to the opportunities and challenges of our times through our ongoing commitment to the liberating action, courage,
and integrity.

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Collaborative Challenge

We will promote collaborative teaching and intellectual and spiritual growth. We will challenge ourselves to create an educational experience that reflects and honors our multicultural reality.

 

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