Scholarships Benefit Dinner raises $1 million to aid students

A record $1 million--double the amount from last year's event--was raised for UCSC student scholarships and fellowships at a gala dinner on Saturday, November 6.

"This is a perfect launch to our 40th anniversary," said Acting Chancellor Martin M. Chemers, who co-hosted the Scholarships Benefit Dinner with UC Santa Cruz Foundation President Kenneth Feingold (Cowell College '71) and UCSC Alumni Association President Kenneth Doctor (Merrill '71). "We want to continue providing educational opportunities for all deserving students, regardless of their financial capacity," he commented. "In the face of rising costs, more support for our students is essential."

An increasing number of UC Santa Cruz students need financial assistance. In 2003-04, UC Santa Cruz provided financial support for nearly 8,000 of its undergraduates-up from 5,700 seven years ago.

The dinner convened more than 300 parents, alumni, donors, and other friends from throughout California. They heard how support changes students' lives from undergraduate scholarship recipient Mariel Tarango and Elena Nilsen, who recently received her Ph.D. in ocean sciences.

"I was able to finish my final year without delay, and pursue postdoctoral positions," Nilsen said. "As a result I was awarded a Mendenhall postdoctoral fellowship at the U.S. Geological Survey, where I continue to pursue the questions that drew me to science in the first place: impacts humans have on the coastal ocean."

Other speakers included Gary Novack, president of Pharmalogic and a UC Santa Cruz alumnus and Foundation trustee. He currently is serving as a UC Regent representing the all UC Alumni Associations. Alison Galloway, professor of Anthropology and the chair of the Academic Senate, noted the benefit she received from scholarships when she was a student. She also emphasized the importance of supporting talented students, whose work contributes to the academic excellence of the campus.

Several new scholarships and fellowships were announced at the dinner, including the History of Consciousness Fellowship Endowment; the Rebecca and Steve Sooy Graduate Fellowship in Marine Mammals; the Kathryn D. Sullivan Scholarship in Earth and Marine Sciences; the Eric Thomas Memorial Scholarship and the William Alfred Chavez Student Award, in honor of the late UCSC alumni and Foundation trustees Eric Thomas and William A. Chavez, respectively.

Also celebrated at the event were the Kumar Malavalli Endowed Chair in Storage Systems Research at UCSC's Baskin School of Engineering; the new fellowship in plant ecology and evolution established by Professor Emerita Jean Langenheim; and the Harry Beevers Endowment for the Arboretum student program.

A highlight of the dinner was the awarding of the UC Santa Cruz Foundation Medal to M.R.C. Greenwood, now UC provost and senior vice president of academic affairs, who returned to the campus she led for nearly eight years.

The Foundation Medal recognizes people of exceptionally distinguished achievement whose work and contributions to society illustrate the ideals and vision of UC Santa Cruz. Designed and crafted by local sculptor and UC Santa Cruz alumnus Sean Monaghan, the medal's heart is a composite lens made from a remainder piece of the Keck Telescope's primary mirror, representing the far-reaching vision and constant striving for an innovative future at UC Santa Cruz. The base of the medal is granite quarried on campus, representing the solid University of California foundation for academic excellence.

Many supporters, including alumni, faculty, parents, and other friends, contributed to the success of the benefit dinner.

Among lead donors were Jean and Tim Weiss; Richard and Helen Spalding; Adobe Systems, Inc.; the Ram Bhojwani family; Richard and Alison Crowell, Kenneth and Moira Feingold; Anne and Paul Levin; M&M Mars Company; Patricia and Rowland Rebele; Thomas and Patricia Vani; Barbara Canfield; the Santa Cruz Sentinel; Garry Spire and Ramyne Kahn; Martin M. Chemers and Barbara Goza Chemers; Margaret L. Delaney and John K. Mallory; and Kenneth and Katherine Doctor.

The campus raised a record $32.2 million in private support in the 2003-04 fiscal year and has ambitious plans to raise additional funds for student support. (See separate news release on the announcement of the Cornerstone Campaign.)