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Hearst/CSU Trustees' Scholars Bring CSU Mission to Life

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(September 12, 2012) – The California State University selects 23 extraordinary students, who overcame profound personal hardships, as the 2012 William Randolph Hearst/CSU Trustees' Award for Outstanding Achievement recipients.  The CSU Board of Trustees will recognize the scholars on September 18.

The students represent every campus in the CSU system — prevailing through poverty, physical and mental illness, disability, language and cultural barriers, intense personal loss, addiction, homelessness, and abusive or absentee guardians to become researchers, mentors, counselors, advocates, volunteers and leaders.

Since its inception in 1974, the CSU has honored 250 students with the award.  This year, one of the trustees sitting on the board is a prior recipient.  Student Trustee Jillian Ruddell became a Hearst/CSU Trustees' Scholar in 2010 and Governor Brown appointed her to the board in 2011.

"The award represents a vote of confidence in you as a student, as well as an acknowledgement of the adversity you have overcome," said Ruddell.  "The CSU is privileged to have you as students.  Your current and future achievements are something we all celebrate."

These distinguished awards are funded by personal contributions from the CSU trustees, staff, friends of the university and endowments.  The William Randolph Hearst Foundation, Trustee Emeritus Ali C. Razi, Trustee Emeritus Murray L. Galinson, Trustee William Hauck, Chancellor Charles B. Reed, the Stauffer Foundation and the Haworth Family Trust have established endowments.  Southwest Airlines and CSU Foundation board member Ronald Barhorst have funded additional named scholarships.  The scholarship awards range from $3,000 to $10,000. 

The Trustee Emeritus Ali C. Razi Scholar
The student who best exemplifies the principles of the Hearst/CSU Trustees’ Award is named the Trustee Emeritus Ali C. Razi scholar and receives $10,000.  This year, that award goes to Marilyn Thomas, a public health master's student at San Francisco State.  Thomas grew up in marginalized neighborhoods and her parents' struggle with substance abuse left her homeless at 15.  She became a single mother at age 20, and committed to changing the direction of her life for the sake of her son.  She succeeded — graduating with a bachelor's from SFSU and returning for her master's.

"Walking across the stage, with a bachelor’s degree in microbiology, was the culmination of the journey I started the day my son was born," said Thomas.  "As it is true in science, it is also true in life that overcoming challenges and mistakes is essential for progress and success."

The first Chancellor Charles B. Reed Scholar
In 2012, Reed designated a $20,000 award from the TIAA-CREF Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence to establish an endowment to support an exemplary Hearst/CSU Trustees' scholar.  In recognition of the chancellor's long career in academics, this year's award goes to the student who best demonstrates excellence in education.  That student receives $6,000.  The CSU Foundation board of governors added to the endowment in recognition of the Chancellor’s service to the university and his $95,500 in personal financial support of the Hearst/CSU Trustees' Award and other vital CSU Foundation programs since 1999.

The first Chancellor Charles B. Reed Scholar is Anthony Green.  An educational media master's student at Cal Poly Pomona, Green gives back to his home community of Long Beach by volunteering with the Compton and Long Beach school districts teaching career and technical education skills to at-risk middle and high school students.  He also mentors foster youth and counsels incoming university graduate students.  His passion is serving community college and underrepresented students.

The first Southwest Airlines Scholar
In 2012, California State University Foundation board member and Southwest Airlines Community Affairs and Grassroots Manager Lidia S. Martinez committed support from Southwest Airlines for a $6,000 scholarship for an outstanding first generation student.  This is in addition to Southwest Airlines' long-standing commitment to provide free transportation to Long Beach for scholars attending the CSU Board of Trustees meeting.

The first Southwest Airlines Scholar is Cassandra Cook.  A first-generation public administration bachelor's student at San Diego State, Cook has overcome many obstacles in pursuit of her education, including poverty, abuse, abandonment, and placement in the foster care system.  She is now incredibly active in pre-law and sustainability activities on campus as well as mentoring and advocating for foster youth in San Diego.  This year, she served as a summer foster youth congressional intern in Washington, DC.

For bios on all 23 scholars as well as descriptions of the six named awards, please visit


About the California State University
The California State University is the largest system of senior higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, approximately 427,000 students and 44,000 faculty and staff. The CSU awards about 99,000 degrees annually and since its creation in 1961 has conferred nearly 2.6 million. The CSU is renowned for the quality of its teaching and for the job-ready graduates it produces. The mission of the CSU is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever changing needs of the people of California. With its commitment to excellence, diversity and innovation, the CSU is the university system that is working for California. Connect with and learn more about the CSU at CSU Social Media. Show how the CSU matters to you and take action.