Friday, December 9, 2016

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Donor Dave George, left, established the Brian Schultz Memorial Scholarship. Pedro Guardado is the 2011 recipient of that scholarship. Donor Dave George, left, established the Brian Schultz Memorial Scholarship. Pedro Guardado is the 2011 recipient of that scholarship.

Students Say 'Thank You' to Donors

The annual scholarship donor appreciation luncheon matches scholarship recipients with their benefactors.
By Lorena Nava Ruggero

For Pedro Guardado, the Brian Schultz Memorial Scholarship helped ease the tuition burden for his family when his father unexpectedly lost his job and he was recently deemed ineligible to continue receiving federal aid.

“Being awarded the Brian Schultz Memorial Scholarship this year helped take most of the burden off my family and me,” he said. “I no longer had to worry about how I was going to pay for my tuition, and therefore, I could focus more on doing well in my classes.”

Opportunity to succeed

Guardado’s story is not an unfamiliar one — the Great Recession has made it increasingly difficult for many students and families to realize dreams of a college degree. But, thanks to generous donors, like the Brian Schultz Foundation, San Diego State students are given the opportunity to succeed.

To acknowledge the value and significant impact of scholarships in students' lives, SDSU hosts an annual scholarship donor appreciation luncheon that unites student recipients with their scholarship donors. Held Nov. 9 in the Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center, 180 students and donors attended this year’s event.

Value of scholarships

SDSU President Elliot Hirshman asked guests at this year's luncheon to solve a riddle: what does a diverse group of people and organizations like J.P. Morgan, the New Jersey Historical Society and American Legion Post 159 have in common?

“What they have in common is that these are the people and organizations whose support of scholarships supported my education,” he answered.

Reggie Blaylock, assistant vice president for Student Affairs and director of the Educational Opportunity Program/Ethnic Affairs that oversees support programs for first-generation, low-income SDSU students, noted the important role donors play in inspiring students to succeed. Donors offer hope to students, especially to those who wonder why people who don’t know them are willing to help them achieve their college degrees, he said.

Blaylock then introduced three scholarship recipients who shared their stories of obstacles, triumphs, academic pursuits and future goals, including:

  • Jennifer Keliher-Venegas: marine biology major and recipient of the Associated Students Study Abroad Scholarship, the Harry E. Hamber Memorial Scholarship and the Mabel Myers Memorial Scholarship.
  • Angela Kozak: speech, language and hearing sciences major, student veteran and recipient of the SDSU Student Veteran Scholarship.
  • Pedro Guardado: business management major and recipient of the Brian Schultz Memorial Scholarship.

All three students detailed their financial need, the impact that scholarship support has made in their pursuit of a college degree at San Diego State and their gratitude for the donors’ generosity and support.

Additional event speakers and performers included:

  • Alexandra Tibbitts: harpist, music performance major and recipient of the Paul C. Stauffer Memorial Scholarship
  • Kit Sickels: chair, The Campanile Foundation
  • Betsy Manchester: scholarship donor and honorary chair of the Scholarship Donor Appreciation Luncheon
  • Mary Ruth Carleton: vice president for University Relations and Development

Fueling potential

Sickels noted the importance of scholarships in relation to The Campaign for SDSU, the university's first-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign.

“As many of you know, we’re in the midst of a very exciting time for San Diego State University,” Sickels said.

“In September, we kicked off our first comprehensive campaign — a campaign whose sole purpose is to build support for our students, faculty, staff and our programs. It is a campaign to educate our future leaders.”

The campaign aims to raise $500 million, with more than half of that already raised, Sickels said.

To learn more about The Campaign for SDSU, visit the website.

Fuel Potential Through Scholarships