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Foundation Boosts UC Riverside Scholarships


The Jameson Foundation Boosts Annual UC Riverside Scholarship Fund with $30,000 Gift

Six UCR Students with Disabilities Receive $5,000 Scholarships

(April 12, 2005)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) -- News of his $5,000 scholarship came as a happy shock for Kevin Macnamara. Ramona Salazar called hers “a bolt from the blue.” Salazar and Macnamara are among the latest recipients of the J.W. and Ida Jameson Foundation scholarships for UCR students with chronic illnesses or disabilities. This year the foundation raised its donation from $20,000 to $30,000, said Lenita B. Kellstrand, director of Student Special Services.

“The foundation’s generosity allowed us to allocate six $5,000 scholarships this year,” she said.

The increase comes as a result of work done by UCR's Development Office, coordinating closely with the foundation and with Services for Students with Disabilities, which identifies candidates for the scholarships, Kellstrand said.

“This was a godsend,” said Macnamara, 25, of Riverside. “What a kind, wonderful thing for them to do.”

A Psychology, Law and Society major who aims to study law after graduation, Macnamara has been a quadriplegic since he was injured in an auto accident at 17.

“It took some time to figure out what I wanted to do,” he said. “Eventually I realized that I had options -- there were things I could still do that would help people. I could still be someone in society, not just the little crippled guy.”

Before he got word of his scholarship, he thought he might have to slow the pace of his education this year: Even at a state university, he said, tuition and expenses add up. The Jameson Foundation scholarship has lifted a lot of the financial burden. It’s also a big motivator for him personally, he said.

“It inspires you to work hard and do your best,” he said. “There are people who believe in you.”

Salazar, 54, also has injuries and disability that stem from a car accident. The Moreno Valley mother of three has spent the last 10 years in and out of the hospital for some 50 operations and treatments to repair damage from the crash and deal with her chronic pain.

She had been working in the telecommunications industry and attending law school part time at night, but quit her job permanently and her studies temporarily after the accident. By the time she was ready to go back to law school, the program’s requirements had changed: She needed a bachelor’s degree, so she enrolled at UCR.

Salazar gets a lot of help from services UCR offers for disabled students.

“They’re always there for me -- Mobility Services, Academic Services, Disabled Student Services,” she said. “I’m always getting cart rides to class. I’ve had so much help here, and the Jameson Foundation scholarship is yet another blessing.”

She will graduate in June, cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, she said, and still plans to study law. Her scholarship will help her pay off her student loans, she said.

The Jameson Foundation launched two $5,000 scholarships at UC Riverside in 1992 with specific yet flexible criteria: The ideal recipients would be transfer students from Riverside Community College, and would have Crohn’s disease. Lacking students who fit that profile, it was okay to grant awards to students with other chronic conditions. It would be a plus if the recipients were older or re-entry students. A candidate should have at least a 3.4 grade-point average, but could carry less than a full-time course load.

UCR has awarded scholarships to people from a variety of backgrounds over the years. The program’s success sparked an increase in funding from the foundation in 1999, when four students won awards. The award bowls over most first-time recipients, said Marcia Schiffer, director of Services for Students with Disabilities, because it is not something they have applied for or sought out.

“I’m the one who gets to select recipients, and I’d say it’s one of my favorite things about my job,” Schiffer said.

The scholarship is renewable, she said, but recipients are evaluated every year on an equal footing with new candidates.

This year’s Jameson Foundation scholars were from Canada, Texas, Mexico, Kansas, Alabama and Glendale before their paths brought them to Riverside County and UCR. They range in age from 25 to 54. Their illnesses and disabilities include diabetes, interstitial cystitis, immune dysfunction, quadriplegia, chronic pain, fibromyalgia and stroke.

“What they have in common is their passion for their studies, and plans for the future,” Schiffer said.

The University of California, Riverside (www.ucr.edu) is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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