The group of students wanted to make a difference in the world, and influence young lives. It’s largely what drove them all to complete their doctorate in Educational Leadership. Little did they know they would still be making an impact at their alma mater five years later.
The students of Cohort 3, all with a strong social justice focus, wanted to leave Cal State Long Beach a gift that would matter. So, they came up with the idea of a scholarship, a gift that could help future doctoral students meet the costs of getting an advanced degree.
The roughly 25 students each donated money, but the Social Justice in Education Scholarship has remained small, funded by the Educational Leadership annual banquet and a Symposium. Until now.
On the fifth anniversary of Cohort 3’s graduation, the scholarship received a major boost in becoming a permanent endowment with a $10,000 pledge from Rich Pagel, vice president of student affairs at Orange Coast College and a graduate of Cohort 2.
Cohort 3 members Stephen Fleischer and Heidi Gilligan made pledges to the $25,000 goal in an effort to encourage others to step up.
“This is huge,” said Anna Ortiz, chair of the Department of Education. “We have students who want the full doctorate experience and stop working in order to go to school full time. They come to us for fellowships and since we are not a research university, we can’t offer them much help.”
Ortiz said if CED can get the scholarship endowed, it would give the department a greater amount to hand out every year rather than relying on fundraising efforts.
“We could offer more support,” she said, her eyes widening at the thought of being able to cover a student’s expenses for a semester.
Leanna Majors, a member of Cohort 3, said CSULB’s doctorate program enabled her to become a strong leader by building up her confidence. She recently moved from teaching elementary classes to being the dean of a KIPP LA School in East Los Angeles.
“Equity is really, really important to social justice and we wanted our class gift to center on the issue of social justice and that it would continue to be talked about,” Majors said. “An endowment has the potential to be a lasting change for many students.”
Maryanne Horton, Senior Director of Development for CED, said an endowed scholarship ensures longevity and provides an opportunity for donors to “pay it forward forever.”