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Inspired Giving: The Marianne McDonald Story

Marianne McDonald, PhD
Marianne McDonald, PhD, partnered with Sharp HealthCare to create the Sharp McDonald Center to enhance drug and alcohol treatment programs for the San Diego community.

A quote from Plato, the classical Greek philosopher, reads: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

“I love that message,” sighed Marianne McDonald, PhD, a professor of classics and theatre at the University of California, San Diego, when she read Sharp HealthCare’s announcement about the new Sharp McDonald Center in which the Plato quote was prominently featured.

“It is so important to be compassionate to others,” said the woman who has dedicated much of her life to helping others fight chemical dependency and substance abuse. The cause is close to her heart as some of her family members have suffered from addiction.

In March 2011, Professor McDonald partnered with Sharp to enhance access to drug and alcohol treatment programs by making a $3 million pledge — the largest gift to benefit behavioral health services in Sharp’s history. Her donation led to the creation of the McDonald Center at Sharp HealthCare. Additionally, to recognize her generosity, Sharp Vista Pacifica Hospital was renamed Sharp McDonald Center

“This partnership allows us to further our mission of providing a full continuum of care, so that when people come to us, whatever their needs, we can provide support by being a source of hope and healing,” said Kathi Lencioni, CEO of Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital and Sharp McDonald Center. 

For more than 20 years, Sharp McDonald Center, formerly Sharp Vista Pacifica, has provided treatment for substance abuse in a supportive, structured, homelike setting. The 16-bed chemical dependency hospital offers a range of personalized programs, including medically supervised detoxification and rehabilitation, evening outpatient sessions and aftercare programs. Since opening in 1989, more than 7,000 people have benefited from its programs and support systems. 

“Sharp truly cares about recovery beyond the hospital walls, and is at the forefront of helping to provide a healthier future for our community,” Professor McDonald said, as she gently pet one of her dogs, which she rescued from an animal shelter. “The immortality that we all seek is what lives on in the hearts of other people. I can’t think of anything more important than loving people back to health. Giving of yourself is the greatest gift you can give, and I could not be happier about my collaboration with Sharp.” 

Thanks to her gift, Sharp McDonald Center will continue providing lifesaving care and help thousands of people find a path to recovery.