Paramount Farms Gift to Help UC Merced Nurture Minds

$250,000 endowment supports students from Kern, Kings, Tulare and Fresno Counties

MERCED, CA - Prompted by its commitment to improving educational opportunities for Central Valley students, Paramount Farms donated $250,000 to an endowed scholarship fund at the University of California, Merced. The endowment will provide low-income students from Kern, Kings, Tulare and Fresno Counties with the opportunity to achieve their education goals at UC Merced.

"Our friends at Paramount Farms understand that higher education is a student's direct path to potential in their careers and their lives," said John Garamendi Jr., vice chancellor for University Relations. "An investment in their education is one which will provide dividends not only for the students, but also for their families and the community."

Paramount Farms and its owners Lynda and Stewart Resnick have been longtime supporters of UC Merced. The Resnicks and Paramount Farms have supported UC Merced since its founding, helping the young campus get off of the ground.

"As a graduate of the University of California system and as a Central Valley business owner, I am proud to support the youngest of the UC campuses," Stewart Resnick said. "A UC Merced education can open doors otherwise unavailable to hard-working high school graduates and we are happy to do what we can to bring a college education within reach for students from the Central Valley."

Paramount Farms, the largest farmer of tree crops in the world, grows and processes almonds, lemons, oranges and pistachios. Paramount Farms is headquartered in Los Angeles, with operations throughout Central California. The Resnicks also own FIJI Water, Teleflora, Paramount Citrus and POM Wonderful.

Resnick's first gift of $200,000 in 2003, aided members of UC Merced's first freshman class to afford the costs associated with college. Since that first gift, about 200 UC Merced students received scholarships thanks to the Resnicks and Paramount Farms' generosity. Additionally, the Resnicks and Paramount Farms have donated to help fund the expansion of the UC Scholars Early Academic Outreach Program (EAOP) to the Delano region.

"I thank Paramount Farms for helping me see the UC system as an option," said scholarship recipient Jesus Medina, a freshman from Wasco. "The UC Scholars program showed me the opportunities available, but scholarships are what allowed me to come here to UC Merced."

The first nine scholarships from the Paramount Farms Endowed Scholarship Fund were awarded this fall, allowing students to focus more on their studies and less on their finances.

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