A Lifetime of Giving Back
Sacramento State faculty member Bernice Bass de Martinez says giving to Sac State is easy because it’s family. “I don’t know how not to give back,” explains Bernice, 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.”
As a child, Bernice 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, Bernice 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 (now known as the Department of World Languages and Literatures), 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, Bernice 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,” Bernice says 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 Bernice’s career and her personal involvement at Sac State. She initially served on the University Foundation Board as Faculty Representative and now serves as a community member and is a committee chair, as well as a donor to the Sac State President’s Circle.
“When you care about a place, you give in support of the place,” she says. “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.
“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.”