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Hornets On the Rise
Bernice Bass de Martinez

Sacramento State faculty member Bernice Bass de Martinez said it’s easy to give to Sac State because it’s family. “I don’t know how not to give back,” said Bass de Martinez, who serves as Special Assistant to the Dean in the College of Arts and Letters. “I grew up around that experience, that you always help others.”

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Leading by Example

As a child, Bass de Martinez went along with her parents on their numerous service activities to help members of their church and community. Through those experiences, she saw the value of leaders who learn to listen as a way of determining how to best help others, as opposed to superimposing what you think they need.

As a natural leader driven by service, Bass de Martinez has built a distinguished career in higher education working more than 30 years in various roles at institutions around the nation, including 20 years at Sacramento State. She served as Chair of the Foreign Language department, and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs before moving to her current role in 2015. In addition to this, she has more than 16 years of faculty experience teaching at both graduate and undergraduate levels.

As if that wasn’t enough service for one person, Bass de Martinez also loved her experiences having worked in Latin America, Africa, and the Caribbean.  I have always wanted to show people you can build education in an equitable way — notice I said equitable, not equal. Additionally, I believe there are ways of working collaboratively that allow people to achieve anything without losing their identity, Bass de Martinez said with heartfelt wisdom. And I am passionate about supporting and preparing more women and people of color for leadership roles.

This passion for equity has influenced Bass de Martinez’s career and her personal involvement at Sac State. Bass de Martinez is a committee chair and is the Faculty Representative on the University Foundation Board, as well as a donor to the Sac State President’s Circle. The President’s Circle is a giving society for people who give $1,500 or more annually to support student-centered programs such as the ASI Food Pantry, the Student Emergency Grant Fund, and study abroad opportunities.

When you care about a place, you give in support of the place, she said. Giving to Sac State emphasizes the passions that I care about, and I can give at an amount that feels right for me — I can give until it feels good. She knows she is not alone in her commitment to the University’s mission and its students. She thinks if faculty and staff aren’t giving, it’s because they haven’t been asked; so she’s asking.

I don’t know any faculty at Sac State who isn’t committed to helping our students. I know all of them, in one way or another, have given to students, she said. But by giving financially to Sac State, we can be assured that the university will be able to continue to support students and help make a difference in their lives. Without students and the support we give them, we won’t have a university.

She continued, This support is something the university depends on. Yes, the multi-million dollar gifts are wonderful, but we also really need the smaller, consistent, on-going gifts. They are crucial and critically important.

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