Don Diego offers $66,000 in scholarships to 28 outstanding San Diego area students


The Don Diego Scholarship Foundation is offering $66,000 in 2019 college scholarships to 28 outstanding students who reside in the San Diego area and have participated in the San Diego County Fair and/or other activities associated with the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

Scholarships are offered in six categories. Individual awards range from $1,000 to $5,000. The deadline to apply is March 18, 2019. Eligibility details and applications are at For questions, contact

Finalist interviews will be held in April. Recipients will be honored at the Don Diego Dinner and Concert Gala taking place on June 15 at the San Diego County Fair. Each recipient will receive a personalized Legacy Brick installed at the Fairgrounds. They also will have an opportunity to reapply for a scholarship in subsequent years.

Scholarship breakdown:

 Scholarships of $5,000, $2,500, $1,500 and $1,000 will be awarded in each of four categories: 4-H, FFA, Employee and Exhibitor/Participant.

 One $5,000, one $2,500, one $1,500 and seven $1,000 scholarships will be awarded to participants in the Fair’s Junior Livestock Auction.

 Two 2,500 Vocational Education scholarships will be awarded to students intending to pursue an AA/AS degree or certificate at a community college or accredited trade school.

The coveted $5,000 Spanjian Family Scholarship will be bestowed upon the most outstanding recipient.

According to Executive Director Chana Mannen, “Don Diego achieves an impressive milestone in 2019. With this year’s scholarships, our total monetary awards will top $1 million! We thank our generous donors, who over the years have enabled us to support future leaders of our community. Our board is ambitiously initiating new programs that will put us on the path to raising our second million.”

The Don Diego Scholarship Foundation was named for Don Diego, aka Tom Hernandez, who served as the fair’s welcoming goodwill ambassador from 1947-1984.

To date since its inception in 1986, the Foundation has awarded nearly $975,000 in scholarships to 232 students and in agriculture education grants. More information is at and