Foundation addresses diversity

by Brandi E. Baumeister
Staff Writer

In order to address diversity on campus, the James Irvine Foundation approved a three-year $500,000 grant to the University of La Verne.

“This is a big deal for the University because it is the largest foundation grant we have received,” said Dr. Jean Runzo, vice president of University Relations.

The first payment of $200,000 was received in December [1995],” said Dr. Runzo. The next two payments of $150,000 each will be received in December of 1996 and 1997.

The James Irvine Foundation is one of the largest in the state of California. It is a private foundation established by James Irvine in 1937, when he transformed his 100,000-acre property of livestock to citrus farming.

“Dennis Collins is the president of the Foundation which is now run like a business by professionals,” said Dr. Runzo.

This San Francisco-based foundation is known for its selective process.

“The University has a good relationship with the Foundation,” said Dr. Runzo.

In addition to the most recent grant, the University also received a challenge grant from the Foundation in December of 1993. A challenge grant is one that is equally matched by the receiver. This $450,000 grant was dispersed over the last two years during the construction of the Wilson Library and Landis Academic Center. However, the recent $500,000 grant from the Foundation is not a challenge grant.

The University has plans to use the grant to enhance its current diversity programs and to develop new ones by supporting students and their families, the faculty, staff and future ULV educators.

The Foundation plans to get students and their families more involved, especially “first generation” college students. The University also plans to focus on increasing awareness, understanding and involvement at all levels, and research on the impact of retention efforts.

For future ULV educators, training fellowships for minority students will be developed to support graduate and postgraduate study for future professors. Because of the support from Irvine Foundation, the University has the opportunity to take these existing efforts to the next level.

“Because we live and work together as a community, this [grant] allows us to address issues we’re all involved in. That is working to help all people,” Dr. Runzo said. “The University is excited and honored to be awarded this grant.”

Brandi E. Baumeister

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