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Chancellor's Associates 2015

Students from Gompers Preparatory Academy wear their honor cords proudly. Photos by Erika Johnson/University Communications

A Cord of Confidence

Incoming Chancellor’s Associate Scholars awarded honor cord as pledge of support

Each spring, UC San Diego hosts a series of receptions to welcome a special group of incoming students—Chancellor’s Associates Scholars. Most of these students are the first in their families to embark upon a university education. Many come from underserved areas of San Diego and Imperial counties. All of them are motivated to achieve their goals and dreams.

To welcome these new UC San Diego students, Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla has a tradition—he gives them an honor cord, which most UC San Diego students will only receive upon graduation. The meaning is significant.

“These cords represent the confidence we have in you,” Khosla told the incoming students at one of the recent receptions, “and our pledge to help you throughout your academic career.”

Chancellor's Associates 2015

Chancellor Khosla congratulates Lincoln High student Luis Perez.

Chancellor Khosla launched the Chancellor’s Associates Scholarship Program in 2013 to improve the pathway for qualified local students to achieve a UC San Diego education. When combined with other financial aid, the Chancellor’s Associates Scholarship Program provides eligible students with essentially a full scholarship.

Since then, more than 115 students have benefited from the program, which initially started with three local partner schools: Gompers Preparatory Academy, Lincoln High School and The Preuss School UCSD, each of which work with historically underserved communities to prepare students to be college-ready.

Over the past two years, the Chancellor’s Associates Scholarship Program has grown to include eligible transfer students at Southwestern College, San Diego City College and Imperial Valley College, as well as eligible students from the community organization, Reality Changers. It also includes local students from federally recognized tribes, and was recently expanded further to include Native American students from throughout the state, beginning September 2015.

Alleviating financial stress

Travis Cross is an incoming transfer student who will benefit from the Chancellor’s Associates Scholarship program when he begins his UC San Diego journey in September. Cross recalled receiving the letter informing him that he would receive the Chancellor’s Associates Scholarship. “When I found out about the scholarship, I was pretty shocked. And very happy,” said Cross, who is of Cherokee descent. “My hope was to attend UC San Diego, but the scholarship made the decision much easier.”

Chancellor's Associates 2015

Recent receptions served as a welcome for Chancellor’s Associates Scholars.

Cross plans to study history at UC San Diego, with a focus on East Asia. He hopes to eventually conduct historical research and impart his passion for history by teaching the next generation. The scholarship will provide needed funding to help him reach his goal.

“As students, we already have enough stress in school, and on top of that, thinking about financial issues and how to pay for college can be a lot,” said Cross. “This scholarship will help pay for books and cover the costs of my commute, since I will be living at home in Oceanside. This will alleviate a lot of stress.”

Helping students thrive

In addition to financial support, UC San Diego has also established a retention and student success program to ensure that Chancellor’s Associates Scholars thrive once they are on campus. Belinda Zamacona, manager of the program, spends her time helping students navigate the university and building a sense of community amongst the scholars.

“Our goal is to provide the resources, programs and events to make sure that our students are equipped with the tools they need to be successful at UC San Diego,” said Zamacona.

Chancellor's Associates 2015

Scholars expressed gratitude for the support of their parents, offering hugs and thanks during the ceremony.

Chancellor’s Associates Scholars are eligible for a range of services and opportunities including a summer transition program to help them prepare for life on campus, as well as priority enrollment and guaranteed on-campus housing. The students also have access to a dedicated study lounge, faculty and peer mentoring, courses on critical thinking and communication, and individualized financial aid and academic counseling.

The Chancellor’s Associates Scholars Program is made possible with funding from Chancellor’s Associates, a loyal network of UC San Diego friends, alumni and parents who make an annual investment of $2,500 each. The pool of funds gives the Chancellor the flexibility to respond to the university’s most urgent needs and critical priorities—including ensuring access and accessibility to UC San Diego for promising local students.

As one of the recent Chancellor’s Associates Scholars welcome receptions concluded, Chancellor Khosla asked just one thing of the admitted students. “We hope that you’ll wear this honor cord one more time—when you graduate as a proud UC San Diego Triton.”