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Scholarships Get Boost


Jameson Foundation Boosts Annual UC Riverside Scholarship Fund

Six UCR students with disabilities receive $5,000 each

(April 25, 2006)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) -- UC Riverside student Crystal Rosales heard about her $5,000 Jameson Foundation Scholarship during a week in which the rest of the news was pretty disheartening.

A few days before, Rosales’ doctor had given her the official diagnosis of what they had suspected for some time: She had multiple sclerosis, a sometimes devastating malady of the central nervous system. Over a lifetime, its effects range from mild balance problems to complete loss of muscular control, with many other possible symptoms.

“The letter from the Foundation came at a perfect time,” said Rosales, a liberal studies major. “I had just been diagnosed, and I was scared. The scholarship was a little bit of good news.”

This year, The J.W. and Ida M. Jameson Foundation added $10,000 to the funding it gives in scholarships to UCR students with chronic illnesses or disabilities. Six students received $5,000 awards this year. Next year, that number will rise to eight.

Many issues are still up in the air for Rosales -- what might happen to her health; how she’ll get around if her symptoms worsen; how she and her husband, Hector, will manage the challenges of the future. But she can smile at the thought of the shrinking amount of loan money she will have to repay after graduation.

The Foundation launched two $5,000 scholarships at UC Riverside in 1992. The awards had specific yet flexible criteria, said Marcia Schiffer, director of Services for Students with Disabilities: The ideal recipients would be transfer students from Riverside Community College (RCC), and would have Crohn’s disease.

Lacking students who fit that precise profile, the Foundation helps out fairly widely. A candidate should have at least a 3.4 grade-point average, but may carry less than a full-time course load, which Schiffer said can be a big help to students with disabilities. Being an older or re-entry student is a plus. The scholarship is renewable, she said, but recipients are evaluated every year on an equal footing with new candidates.

J. Marie Hicks, a junior English and psychology major, is a close match: She transferred to UCR this academic year from RCC. Her grade-point average is 4.0. A 44-year-old mother of four who married right out of high school, Hicks put her education on hold until her children were raised. Her qualifying condition is a hearing loss, she said.

UCR has awarded Jameson scholarships to people from a variety of backgrounds. Early recipients’ academic achievement impressed the Foundation board, and sparked an increase in funding in 1999, when four students won awards. Last year, the board added $10,000, raising the total to $30,000. The board repeated the boost this year, effectively doubling the scholarship fund over three years.

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

The awards are a surprise to first-time recipients. UCR keeps records of students with disabilities, and Schiffer and her team choose the best matches for the criteria. Those students get letters -- and some have trouble believing the news.

“I didn’t know what to think,” Rosales said. “I read it and said, ‘This can’t be right,’ because I knew I hadn’t applied for it. I thought it might be a notice about something I could be eligible for.”

But her husband went online to check, she said, and the award had already been noted in her financial aid package: “That’s when we knew it was real.”

Hicks and her husband, Steve, were surprised too -- surprised and thrilled, she said, because their four children are also in college: a daughter at Chapman University, a daughter at RCC and a son and a daughter at La Sierra University. The $5,000 award relieves financial pressure, Hicks said, and lightens her load.

“I’m reveling in this, because I’ve waited to go to college for a very, very long time,” she said. "This award helps to make it possible."


About the Foundation:
Ida May Jameson, founder of the Jameson Foundation, and her husband, oil man James William Jameson, known as J.W., were born in Humboldt County in 1860 and 1861 respectively. In 1897, J.W. discovered oil in Kern County, acquired some 95,000 acres, and in 1899 formed the Midway Oil Company. The Jamesons bought more land and wells around Southern California in the early 1900s. The operation later became Richfield Oil Company, which in turn became ARCO. J.W. died in 1934 at 74. Ida May went on with their businesses and the philanthropic work -- in the arts, medicine, higher education and church work -- that had been important to both of them. In 1956 she created The J.W. and Ida M. Jameson Foundation. Ida May died in November 1963 at the age of 102.

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