7th annual Scholarship Benefit Dinner to support UCSC students--Feb. 6 at Tech Museum in San Jose

Dan Roam
Ezequiel Olvera Jr.

UC Santa Cruz will host its seventh annual Scholarship Benefit Dinner on Saturday, February 6, at the Tech Museum in San Jose.

The annual benefit dinner is one of UCSC's premier fundraising events. Proceeds provide scholarships to ensure that talented undergraduate students with financial need receive the education necessary to help them become our next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs.

Many recipients are students who might not otherwise be able to attend the university without this support.

With a theme of "Inspiring Innovation," this year's event features keynote speakers Dan Roam (Merrill '88) and Ezequiel Olvera Jr. (Oakes '07).

Roam is the founder of Digital Roam, a consulting firm that helps major companies solve complex problems through the art of visual thinking.

His international bestselling book, The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures, was Business Week's #1 innovation book of 2008, and The Financial Times' #3 business book of the year.

Roam's "American Health Care on the Back of a Napkin" was also the winner of SlideShare's "World's Best Presentation" contest in 2009.

Roam notes that due to his educational experience at UCSC, he has spent his career working with influential leaders and organizations around the world.

"They invite me in because I have a unique view of how people can look at problems, see the challenges, and imagine innovative solutions," says Roam.

"I have that unique view for a very simple reason-because UC Santa Cruz encouraged me to pursue an unconventional education: fine art and hard science tempered with business."

"If it weren't for the student scholarship support I received as an undergraduate at UCSC, my vision would never have come to light," Roam adds.

Olvera is a young entrepreneur who creatively financed his college education through a gumball and vending machine business he started as a teenager.

While at UCSC, he developed a plan to turn this childhood entrepreneurial business into the Gumball Foundation--a self-sustaining organization that in 2008 began awarding scholarships to underprivileged students from his community who want to pursue higher education.

"The value of a UCSC education is that it helps students become socially, environmentally, and culturally conscientious individuals," says Olvera. "The value of a student scholarship is that it gives students the opportunity to follow their dreams and find their place in the world."

Shellye Archambeau, CEO of Silicon Valley's MetricStream, will serve as master of ceremonies for the dinner. Archambeau was named one of the 50 Most Important African Americans in Technology for 2009 by eAccess Corp, and one of the Top Women of Influence by the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal in 2008.

Last year's sold-out Scholarship Benefit Dinner raised more than $165,000 for UCSC undergraduate scholarships, a result Chancellor George Blumenthal described as "especially gratifying" given the historic economic downturn.

He noted that "more than a third of our students are the first in their family to attend college, and many are from disadvantaged families," adding, "scholarship support makes a huge difference for these students and their families."

Due to the reduction in state support for the University of California, fees for an undergraduate California resident are approximately $8,700 for 2009-10 and scheduled to increase in the coming year. Nearly two-thirds of UC undergraduates received some form of financial assistance in the past academic year.

More students than ever before now need financial assistance to enable them to attend the university, and in recent years, low-income families have been particularly hard-hit by increased tuition costs.

The 2010 UCSC Scholarship Benefit Dinner will be held on February 6, at the Tech Museum in San Jose. A reception will begin at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 p.m. The public is welcome. Cocktail attire. Shuttle service will be available from Santa Cruz to San Jose at a nominal cost. For tickets or more information, contact the UCSC Special Events Office, specialevents@ucsc.edu, go to the Scholarship Benefit Dinner web site (community.ucsc.edu/sbd), or call (831) 459-5003.