UC San Diego News Center


Endowed UC San Diego Scholarship Honors Professor Bud Mehan, Helps Local Underserved Students

Bud Mehan

Bud Mehan

During his career at the University of California, San Diego, Hugh “Bud” Mehan taught thousands of students in sociology and education studies over the course of nearly four decades. His impact spread far beyond the walls of the university into the local community and beyond. Mehan has made major contributions to educational reform in San Diego, helping countless students from around the county become better equipped to succeed in college. Upon Mehan’s retirement, his colleagues, family, friends and former students honored the professor’s distinguished career with a fitting gift—a scholarship that would help students from disadvantaged backgrounds attend UC San Diego. The Hugh “Bud” Mehan Undergraduate Scholarship was recently endowed.

“I am honored to have this scholarship established,” said Mehan. “I believe it is a symbolic demonstration of our campus’s efforts to help underprepared youth to attend and succeed in colleges around the country. And ideally, we’d like them here at UC San Diego.”

As an endowment, the scholarship fund will remain in perpetuity. Now, more than ever, scholarships are essential to ensuring that students from all social and economic backgrounds have access to a world-class UC San Diego education. The Mehan Undergraduate Scholarship was established to help two UC San Diego students each year who have financial need, are the first in their family to attend a university and graduated from Gompers Preparatory Academy, Lincoln High School or The Preuss School UCSD.

The scholarship recognizes Mehan’s dedication as founding director of the Center for Research on Educational Equity, Assessment, and Teaching Excellence (CREATE), which is housed in UC San Diego’s Division of Social Sciences and designed to help young people from diverse communities prepare for, get admitted to and ultimately succeed in college. CREATE partners with Gompers, Lincoln and The Preuss School UCSD, working closely with the schools’ teachers, counselors and principals, as well as assisting students and their parents through the college application and scholarship process.

Indira Esparza

Indira Esparza

While the scholarship was just recently endowed, two students have already received scholarships from the current use funds during the 2011-2012 academic year. Indira Esparza graduated from The Preuss School UCSD, a charter middle and high school for motivated, low-income students whose parents have not graduated from college. The Mehan Scholarship has brought her one step closer to her aspirations of practicing immigration law and becoming a law professor.

“I am so honored to be part of this scholarship,” said Esparza. “This scholarship has benefited my family and me by taking off some of the stress financially. I was able to purchase all my textbooks and make my financial deadlines without worry.”

Mehan believes that scholarships for students from underrepresented regions of San Diego have far-reaching implications. “Ensuring access to higher education for students from all backgrounds is essential to our future,” said Mehan. “Democracy as a form of government is fragile and in order to survive, we need a well-educated citizenry. The more educated students, particularly in low income areas, the more democracy can flourish.”

Mehan continued: “It is also an economic imperative, as San Diego County needs a trained, educated workforce. If we are not tapping students from low income backgrounds, we are neglecting a population of great minds.”

Elected to the National Academy of Education in 1997, Mehan has received many prestigious teaching awards during his tenure at UC San Diego including the Thurgood Marshall College Outstanding Teaching Award, the Eleanor Roosevelt College Outstanding Teaching Award, the John Muir College “Most Valuable Professor” Award and the Chancellor’s Associates “Outstanding Faculty Member Award.” He played an integral role in the establishment of The Preuss School UCSD.

Currently, 64 percent of the undergraduates on campus need financial aid. But with only 9 percent of the university's operating budget coming from State of California, UC San Diego is challenged to offer enough scholarships for promising students.

Funds contributed to the Hugh “Bud” Mehan Undergraduate Scholarship contribute to UC San Diego’s $50 million student support campaign, Invent the Future. Gifts can still be made in Mehan’s honor. Click here to make an online gift or call (858) 822-1536 for more information. To learn more about supporting scholarships at UC San Diego, please visit