Scholarship fund opened in memory of slain UCSC grad Elizabeth Butler

Elizabeth Butler
Detective Elizabeth Butler

A scholarship fund has been opened in memory of Elizabeth Butler, the UC Santa Cruz Community Studies graduate who became a Santa Cruz police officer and was killed on duty a year ago.

The Elizabeth Butler Scholarship Endowment will support a UCSC student while on field study in Santa Cruz County. Butler (Kresge, '96) worked at the La Familia Center in Santa Cruz's Beach Flats neighborhood during her six-month Community Studies field study. She later said that experience influenced her decision to become a police officer.

The scholarship "will be true to Beth's life," said Mary Beth Pudup, director of Community Studies now housed at UCSC's Oakes College. "She came here from Los Angeles, worked on field study, fell in love with the community, and made it her home."

Video announcing the Elizabeth Butler Memorial Scholarship

Pudup organized the scholarship fund last month and made the initial gift as the one-year anniversary of Butler's death approached. The 38-year-old police detective was shot and killed along with another detective February 26, 2013 as they investigated an alleged sexual assault. Their deaths were the first on duty for the Santa Cruz Police Department.

Pudup first raised the idea of a scholarship fund with Butler's friends from her college days, then her partner, Peter Wu, and later her mother who now lives in Santa Cruz. All supported it.

The scholarship is associated with the Community Studies program and its field study component because of the influence it had on Butler's life. "Her commitment to serving the Santa Cruz community got its start during her field study," Pudup said.

Contributions may be made online. Scholarship winners will be selected based on the academic merit of the proposed field study and its relation to social conditions in Santa Cruz