A Legacy of Giving Back

Donna Kline's graduate studies at San Francisco State led to opportunities and experiences she could never have predicted. Her research of American-born pianist Olga Samaroff developed into a book, which was later published by Texas A&M University Press, as well as a documentary film which screened on PBS.  “It has been a beautiful odyssey that continues to this day,” she says.

Xochitl Sanchez-Zarama hugs a Guardian Scholar studentWhen Donna and her husband Sylvan’s daughter, Joanne, tragically died of brain cancer, they wanted to honor her memory by helping students. They established the Donna S. Kline Scholarship in Creative Arts in Memory of Joanne Rae Kline in 2014, providing critical resources for students in the School of Music.

Last December, the Klines attended San Francisco State’s annual scholarship dinner. At that dinner, they had the chance to hear about the Guardian Scholars program at San Francisco State. Inspired by the stories they heard that night, the Klines established another endowed scholarship for Guardian Scholars at SF State!

With a 95% graduation rate, much higher than the university average, the Guardian Scholars Program helps dozens of former foster care youth stay in college and complete the requirements for graduation. GSP provides year-round on-campus housing, scholarships, and multiple mentorship and career development opportunities. SF State was the first university in Northern California to host such a program. Part of its success can be attributed to the close relationship between program administrators and the students they serve. Kayla Daniels, a junior psychology major in the program, says, “I feel fortunate to be surrounded by so many caring and supportive people who are looking out for my well-being and success in school and life."

“We are both very happy we have been able to give back to SFSU in more ways than one. Nothing gives us a greater pleasure,” Donna says.

Our thanks to Donna and Sylvan Kline for their tremendous commitment to our students!