A group of retired UC Santa Cruz staff members has met its goal to raise $50,000 to endow a fund that is helping military veteran students on campus afford text books and make ends meet.
Two years after launching this fundraising effort, the 200-member Retirees Association, made up mostly of retired UC Santa Cruz staff members, can rest assured that the UCSC Retirees Association Bruce Lane Memorial Scholarship will help students well into the future.
As of March 2014, the Association has awarded $26,000 to 51 students.
The fundraising success has taken its supporters by surprise.
“We’re really delighted about this,” said Retirees Association board president David Dodson, former college administrative officer at Oakes College at UC Santa Cruz. “It is unexpected. We did not know we would reach the goal as soon as we did. We will continue to raise funds but not quite with the same urgency.”
Dodson also noted the “cordial response” of the people he solicited to support the fund. “I called one of my predecessors (as an Oakes administrator) who now lives up in the mountains, and she said she would love to make a contribution,” Dodson said.
The Retirees Association's goal is to give out at least ten $500 scholarships a year to military veteran students in need. The association will use some annual income from the endowment to fund the prizes but will need to supplement that amount with additional fundraising each year, Dodson said.
The scholarship fund got an unexpected boost after the Retirees Association announced, during a meeting in May, that it was $668 short of reaching its $50,000 endowment goal. That afternoon, a retired long-time UC Santa Cruz staff member and his wife came forward and wanted to make an anonymous donation. “That put us over the top,” Dodson recalled.
The scholarship commemorates and honors Bruce Lane, a member of the UC Santa Cruz staff between 1964 and 1991. He was hired as a project architect and was involved with the planning and construction of many key buildings on campus.
Lane was an officer in the Army Reserves for 35 years, and strongly endorsed supporting current UCSC student veterans. He died in 2008.
The endowment news delighted Maxine Lane, who is part of the Retirees Association and is Bruce Lane’s widow. “I always said Bruce was one in a million,” she said. “He was so honest and so fair. He would have loved to know about this.”
UC Santa Cruz has an estimated 100 veteran students. Many have served in Iraq, Afghanistan or the Gulf War. The campus has become an essential stepping-stone in these young veterans’ lives as they transition from military service into civilian life.
Veteran students receive priority housing and class enrollment at UCSC. They can also take advantage of the resources at the Veterans Education Team Support, a home base for vets that includes drop-in appointments, peer mentoring, academic advising, a newsletter and social events for UCSC's veterans. VETS is now entering its fourth year of serving UCSC students.
UC Santa Cruz's veterans program is overseen by Services for Transfer and Re-entry Students (STARS).
Those who wish to contribute to the scholarship may do so by visiting the UCSC Retirees Association scholarship page.