Campus: San Diego State University -- January 31, 2005

SDSU Launches President's Diversity Scholarships

Program Offers Up To $14,000 Over Four Years To Low-Income Local Students

San Diego State University President Stephen L. Weber today announced an unprecedented SDSU scholarship program which will give up to 10 local, high-achieving, low-income high school seniors the financial support they need to get a degree from San Diego State University beginning in fall 2005.

The new program, called the President's Diversity Scholarship, is open to any eligible student regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability or national origin. It provides $3,500 annually for up to four years. The scholarship recipients receive other benefits, including an academic adviser, internship opportunities, fee waivers for student orientation activities, and an annual meeting with SDSU President Stephen L. Weber.

"It's important to remove the financial barriers facing these local, high-achieving, young students so they can attend our university and concentrate on building a successful future," Weber said. "These scholarships are designed to help open the doors for tomorrow's leaders today."

SDSU officials have been promoting the new scholarship program to school principals and counselors in SDSU's service area since November. The application deadline for the inaugural round of scholarships is Feb. 1. (Scholarship eligibility and application information is available at www.sdsu.edu/diversityscholarship or by calling (619) 594-1041.)

The President's Diversity and Equity Community Advisory Council created the idea of the President's Diversity Scholarship. The council, organized in fall 2003, consists of about two dozen community and business leaders who help SDSU develop ideas for enhancing and supporting student diversity.

"It's important for our region's future to keep as many of our bright students in San Diego as possible," said Robert McNeely, chairman and CEO of the Union Bank of California Foundation. "More and more universities around the country are offering scholarships or other assistance to attract high-achieving, low-income students, and SDSU needs to be able to offer an incentive for these local high achievers to attend SDSU."

Dan McAllister, San Diego County Treasurer/Tax Collector, said, "This scholarship program allows San Diego State to compete financially to keep some of these local, outstanding young men and women here, where they are more likely to stay and contribute to our community's prosperity throughout their career."

McAllister and McNeely, both members of the President's Council, also are co-chairs of the inaugural SDSU Diversity Gala, which will take place at 6 p.m. February 24 at the Sheraton Hotel and Marina on Harbor Island Drive. The scholarships will be funded by proceeds from the gala and other private giving from companies and individual donors.

The gala also will feature the introduction of the first winners of the President's Diversity Scholarships, as well as a presentation by Yolanda King, the first-born daughter of Coretta Scott King and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and now an internationally renowned motivational speaker and actress.

"We already are receiving wonderful support for this program from corporate and community leaders, as well as individual donors," said Cheryl Fisher, director of SDSU's Office of Diversity and Equity. "Thanks to their involvement we're off to a strong start."

Contact: Jason Foster, foster@mail.sdsu.edu, (619) 594-2585


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