The Janice Clementine Douglas Student Emergency Fund
A worldwide pandemic, the rising cost of living in the Bay Area and fewer paid internship opportunities have produced challenging financial stresses for the extraordinary students at Berkeley Journalism. Our new emergency fund is an impactful and immediate way for alumni and friends to support our students with pressing resource constraints related to housing, food, health and other challenges as they earn advanced degrees in journalism.
This fund is named after the wife of Art Douglas, our beloved custodian who embodied what it means to be caring and supportive of our students. As he cleaned our school at night, he would share advice and words of support with our students who were there late trying to finish their work, inquiring about their classes, their stories and their lives.
In the spirit of Art, and his beloved wife, Janice, this fund aims to support our students by offering emergency financial help to enable them to meet urgent needs that arise as they participate in our two-year program.
“I have heard too often from students that they were so stressed by financial emergencies that they couldn’t focus enough on the classes, story projects and networking opportunities that our school has to offer,” said Geeta Anand, interim dean.
“We hope this fund will help our students with emergencies that arise so they can use these two years to benefit from all of the amazing learning, storytelling opportunities and networking that our school offers.”
“I want to commend the Class of 2018, led by Margaret Katcher, and alums Lauren Kawana (‘14) and Kara Platoni (’99) for their efforts in helping us establish this starter fund two years ago. And I want to thank Stephen Hobbs (’14) for sharing with us his vision for building this fund into a larger alumni-wide effort going forward. It is the passion, dedication and vision of alumni like them who make this community so special.”
We invite all alumni and friends to make a contribution of $100 or more this year. Our ambitious goal is to raise $100,000 to support our diverse student body. If you are inspired to join this effort, please contribute.
About Art and Janice Clementine Douglas
By Lauren Kawana (‘14)
Art Douglas served as custodian of the journalism school at UC Berkeley for over 30 years. He was well known among students and faculty, always equipped with a smile and kind words. A quiet observer of school life while conducting his janitorial duties, Art was known to keep clips of student work, attend screenings and student showcases, and provide encouragement and sage life lessons to students burdened with pressing deadlines and late-night anxiety. For years, he also assisted the staff with handing out diplomas to students at every graduation and rarely forgot an alumni face, eager to express his pride in their ongoing careers as journalists.
When Art’s wife Janice Clementine Douglas passed away in 2017, he made the decision to quietly retire without fanfare. When students discovered this, they acted quickly to honor Art’s work at the school and the impact he made on decades of students. At the 2018 graduation, the class of 2018 and alumni raised $4,819.00 to gift him, along with an honorary plaque to be hung in the school. When presented with this gift, Art refused the money and insisted it be turned into an emergency fund for journalism students in need. His one request was that it be named after his late wife, Janice Clementine Douglas, whom he married in 1974. “She was a loving mother and a loving wife,” said Art. “School was so important to her. She took time out to be a mother and wife and then went back to school to finish her degree.” After many years of raising children and working at Blue Cross of California in Oakland for over 40 years, Janice obtained her bachelor’s degree in sociology at Cal State East Bay in 2010. "I don't want anyone to forget her," Art said.
In 2019, the Janice Clementine Douglas fund was celebrated at alumni weekend, which Art attended alongside his youngest daughter Natasha. Natasha was a recipient of a class gift raised by students in 1990. Then a freshman at Bishop O’Dowd High School, Natasha used the money raised by students to support her tuition. In a message to the class, she wrote: “Thank you for selecting me for the class gift. Your hard work and accomplishments over the past two years are an inspiration to me! I will use this gift on my journey to become an orthopedic surgeon!” Today, Dr. Natasha Marshall indeed works in podiatric surgery for Kaiser Permanente in Lancaster, CA.
Berkeley Journalism is proud to establish the Clementine Douglas Student Emergency Fund in honor of Janice Clementine Douglas in perpetuity to assist students in need of financial support as they pursue their dreams through education.