“It takes a village” is an adage that can arguably be applied to excellence achieved at any institution, including California State University, Dominguez Hills, where the “village” includes a special group of students, a long-time professor, and the people behind Shell Pipeline Company LP. They were honored at the 2012 President’s Scholarship Reception held in the University Library on April 26, in front of a crowd filled with university administration, faculty, students, and family and friends, as well as several notable community leaders including current Carson Mayor Jim Dear and former Carson Mayor Gilbert Smith.
Accepting their awards on stage were the Presidential Scholarship recipients Vanessa Arantes (Class of ’12, graphic design), Lauren E. Benjamin (Class of ’12, pre-physical therapy), Katherine Fogle Collazo (sophomore, nursing), Victor Chen (sophomore, clinical science), Candice Cochran (sophomore, psychology), Corinne Cowan (junior, art design), Niya Doncheva (Class of ’12, public relations), Patrick Fuertes (junior, clinical science), Katherine Geesing (sophomore, religious studies), Veronica Lepez (sophomore, information systems), Andres Medina (junior, physics), Eddie Moretti (Class of ’12, interdisciplinary studies), Alexandra Pfau (Class of ’12, business administration), Julia Ramirez (sophomore, psychology), Claudia Rios-Tino (Class of ’12, health science), Desmond Smith (Class of ’12, Africana studies), Amy Stedman (Class of ’12, music), Sarah White (sophomore, occupational therapy), Clifford Yap (sophomore, accounting), and Timothy Ericson (sophomore, finance), who addressing the crowd, thanked all the supporters and CSU Dominguez Hills President Mildred García for growing the scholarship program. He said it makes a difference not only for the scholarship recipients, but also for their classmates.
“As a recipient of this scholarship, I felt a real responsibility to go into the class and to be as much of a leader as I can… to help other students in the classroom, to foster competition amongst the students to improve the academic life of the school,” Ericson said.
He added that, as one of the few merit-based scholarship programs, the Presidential Scholarship is more than just a financial award. It gives achievers an opportunity to have success at every level so they can build on a history of success as they enter their professional careers.
The evening shifted to honor a professional who has impacted the lives of countless students. The audience listened intently as Lois W. Chi, professor emerita of biology, was introduced as the 2012 Katherine B. Loker Friend of Education Award for her long-time commitment to the university, students, faculty, and the field of science.
As one of the 20 founding faculty members serving 180 students, Chi began teaching at the then-named California State College, Dominguez Hills in 1966. Chi brought with her a National Institutes of Health grant, which she secured continually for the duration of her 16-year teaching career at CSU Dominguez Hills. She was the first professor to bring a research grant of any kind to the university.
In 1979, for her excellence in teaching and scholarship, Chi became the first professor from CSU Dominguez Hills to be selected from the entire CSU system as Outstanding Professor of the Year.
Since her retirement in 1983, Chi has continued to support the university as a member of the emeritus faculty association, which engages in support activities, such as annually awarding qualified students with a Dr. Lois W. Chi Emeritus Faculty Association Science Scholarship.
Always focusing on students, Chi said from the stage where she accepted her award, “In my life, when I think of my students, I smile.”
The Corporate Partner of Education Award was awarded to Shell Pipeline Company LP and presented to CSU Dominguez Hills Foundation board member and area manager for Shell Pipeline’s Carson Distribution Facility Don Herman. Shell Pipeline’s longtime partnership with the university was established by Thomas Innocenzi, a now-retired Shell plant manager who served as a founding member of the CSU Dominguez Hills Foundation board, and who was in attendance at the reception.
“The support you provide is the margin of excellent at CSU Dominguez Hills,” Greg Saks, vice president of university advancement, said of Herman and the university’s other donors and community stakeholders at the reception, adding that supporters who provide scholarship and professorship endowments are investing in the community. “When CSU Dominguez Hills does well, you do well.”
García, who has herself donated more than $35,000 to a scholarship in her parent’s name and in support of various student activities since arriving to campus five years ago, said of donors, “Your gifts truly make a difference in the lives of our students. Your donations make higher education a reality for these very high achieving presidential scholars.”