The benefits of a diverse learning environment are well documented.
Classroom diversity promotes student growth and reflection, plays an essential role in career preparation and helps students engage in civic discourse.
“Getting to interact with people from other cultures, ethnic groups, religions and countries help broaden our understanding of the world,” shared Manuelita Brown, UC San Diego Black Alumni Council Member.
“Diversity helps us develop an appreciation for other human beings as human beings.”
While there is no denying that the undergraduate student body at UC San Diego is ethnically diverse, in Fall 2016 just 2 percent of undergraduate students were African American. Compare that to San Diego County’s population, which is 5.5 percent black or African American.
“We’re continuing to work hard to raise funds for scholarships and entice more black students to come,” said Brown, whose decades-long relationship with the university includes being the spouse of a faculty member, a graduate student, mother of a student and member of the Council.
Impact of the UCSD Black Alumni Scholarship Fund
For nearly 20 years, Brown has served as the Chair of the UCSD Black Alumni Scholarship Fund, aiming to increase the number of African American students on campus. Following the passing of California Proposition 209, which banned public universities from awarding scholarships based on ethnicities, the funds have been awarded through The San Diego Foundation Community Scholarship Program.
The impact has been tremendous.
Since 2002, more than $802,000 in UCSD Black Alumni Scholarships have been awarded to over 350 students focused on arts and humanities, or engineering, mathematics and science degrees.
“Because the funds are now at The San Diego Foundation, we can, and have, continued to raise money,” Brown explained.
Ranging between $1,500 – $2,500 per academic year, individual scholarships help:
- Entice more black students to attend UC San Diego following their acceptance into the university,
- Support black students during their educational stay with facilities and services, and
- Increase graduation rates by preparing students for post-graduate school or the workforce.
“As a proud recipient of the UC San Diego Black Alumni Scholarship, I encourage other students to take advantage of this opportunity,” exclaimed Antoine Stevens-Phillips, a 2016 recipient of the Arts & Humanities scholarship and former Thomas Murphy Fellow at The San Diego Foundation.
“When the rigor of classwork got tough, and I considered doing less than my best, this scholarship provided a strong incentive for me to pursue excellence.”
Brown explained these scholarships are important because they help combat insularity.
“You cannot consider yourself well-educated if you are not familiar with the world beyond the community you grew up in,” she believes. “You need to know that there are viable existences outside of the one you’ve experienced.”
Support UCSD Classroom Diversity
“While we have made progress, we do not have enough funds to support the amount of scholarships we would like to provide,” Brown said.
Help support a UC San Diego campus that is equitable, diverse and inclusive.
In honor of Black History Month, consider making a generous donation to these scholarship funds to support tomorrow’s leaders.