The Pardee family of Rancho Santa Fe believes in the power of higher education and understands the impact an investment in the future of a student can make. Since 2006, the family has provided 300 scholarships to over a hundred California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) undergraduates totaling $600,000. The J. Douglas and Marian R. Pardee Foundation Scholarship program has given the largest number of scholarships in CSUSM history.
The J. Douglas and Marian R. Pardee Foundation Scholarship program was established at CSUSM out of a desire to make a gift that would impact the region. Their generosity has enabled the University to award 50 scholarships annually to students with a minimum grade point average of 3.25 and demonstrated need. Scholarship renewals are available to eligible students with a GPA of 3.0. In addition to their scholarship program, they have donated over $90,000 to support former foster youth in the University’s ACE Scholar Services program.
Impacting the Future for Generations
One first year nursing student attests to the life-changing impact of the Pardee’s gift. After a challenging childhood and adolescence, she was able to complete high school but felt, lacking the encouragement and positive influences in her life, that college would never be a reality for her.
“I always worked hard and was well liked, but I could never get the jobs that I truly wanted because I didn’t have a college education,” she said. When she became a mother she knew she wanted a better life not only for herself but for her son.
Today the student is working toward her bachelor’s of science in nursing. As a single mother with full custody of her 5-year-old, she says it can be difficult to balance the rigorous school work with motherhood. Without the financial aid she is receiving this semester, including a $2,000 scholarship from the Pardee family, she would not be able to follow her passion of becoming a registered nurse with the hope of eventually tackling the childhood obesity epidemic.
“Without scholarships I don’t know what I would do in regard to childcare for my son,” she said who must be at a local hospital for her clinical rotations as early as 6:45 a.m. during the week. “It’s expensive to find someone reliable and trustworthy to watch him that early. Without financial help it would be really difficult to get my degree.
“If I could speak to the Pardee family, I would tell them thank you so very, very much,” she reflected. “I have a real passion for nursing and I think I can make a difference that will impact generations to come.”
Students have the opportunity to thank the Pardee family and share with them their personal stories of success through thank you essays.
A Gift that Impacts the Region
Scholarships are an important part of ensuring that Cal State San Marcos remains affordable given recent tuition increases. For the 2012-2013 academic year, the total cost of attendance for a full-time resident undergraduate living off-campus—including tuition, fees, books, food, housing, transportation and personal expenses—totals over $24,000.
Because over 50 percent of CSUSM’s student population is from diverse ethnic backgrounds and over 40 percent are the first in their family to earn a degree, the cost for many would be prohibitive without scholarships, grants or loans.
“It’s humbling to think that a small amount can make such a difference in the life of a student,” said Douglas Pardee’s daughter, Julie. “By giving scholarships, we are impacting our own community – so many students stay local to complete their education . . . and they stay in this region after graduation.”