Gift will help ease financial burden for UC Merced students
MERCED, Calif. — A $1 million donation from Foster Poultry Farms will allow the University of California, Merced, to further enrich the lives of students through scholarships.
For many high school students, going to a university often comes with financial challenges. The Foster Poultry Farms Scholarship Fund — a $1 million scholarship fund that will be given over the next 10 years — has been established to help eligible UC Merced students receive the financial support needed to further their education.
"Our initial gift has already made a remarkable impact in the lives of UC Merced students and the community," said Sue Foster, the company's director of corporate giving. "We are delighted to further support the university and its important mission by providing student scholarships."
To date, Foster Poultry Farms has supported the university with donations totaling nearly $2.3 million. Based in Livingston, Foster Poultry Farms is the leading poultry producer in the western United States and has remained a family-owned business since its founding in 1939.
"The Foster family has been truly visionary, supporting the 10th UC campus before it was even built," Chancellor Steve Kang said. "Generations of students will benefit from their generosity."
Early on, the family recognized that graduates of UC Merced will be an essential resource for regional companies that need prepared workers. In 2004, Foster Poultry Farms donated $1.2 million to fund hands-on educational experiences through the Foster Family Center for Engineering Service Learning program.
Through the program, UC Merced students get the opportunity to engineer real solutions to complex problems faced by real clients. Students work in project teams to define, design, build, test, deploy and support systems to meet their clients' needs — broadening their educational experience and enhancing their workplace readiness.
Scholarship gifts help UC Merced achieve its mission in the face of shrinking state support. According to the campus' Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, 87 percent of all undergraduate students applied for financial aid in the 2010-11 academic year, and 93 percent of those who applied received some form of financial assistance.
"As a scholarship recipient myself, I am truly grateful for to the Fosters for their continued dedication to our students and their academic success," Kang said. "Their gift will go a long way in making a college education attainable for UC Merced students regardless of their family's financial situation."
Brenda Ortiz