January 22, 2008

Wells Fargo gift helps Sac State students succeed

Christine Bergholm and Alejandro Gonzalez will have their tuition costs covered thanks to part of a gift from the Wells Fargo Foundation. Christine Bergholm and Alejandro Gonzalez will have their tuition costs covered thanks to part of a gift from the Wells Fargo Foundation.

Two freshman students can focus more on their studies and spend less time worrying about finances thanks to the generous gift of $100,000 to Sacramento State from the Wells Fargo Foundation.

Half of that money provides scholarships to the Guardian Scholars and Honors programs. The Guardian Scholars received $36,000 for two full-ride scholarships, program director Joy Salvetti says. The Honors Program will get $14,000 which will be divided up among several students to defray University expenses, program director Roberto Pomo says.

The remaining $50,000 will support the Wells Fargo One Book Program, which is aimed at promoting literacy and book-reading among students, faculty, staff and the community at large, says director of development Alex Gonzalez, Jr.

Guardian Scholars helps former foster children who lose state support and financial aid when they turn 18. Program officials not only pursue financial support for the 21 students, but also help streamline various academic procedures and provide tutoring and counseling.

This year’s recipients, Christine Bergholm and Alejandro Gonzalez, exceeded the required 3.0 grade-point average throughout their high school years. Their scholarships are also renewable, basically providing the necessary support for their full four years at Sacramento State, Salvetti says.

Gifts such as the Wells Fargo donation are treasured by Guardian Scholar students, who often have the least sense of entitlement, Salvetti says. “Whenever they’re rewarded or given anything, they are just so grateful,” she says.

This year’s recipients were already working part time and pursuing grants and other financial aid when they received the scholarships. “I was kind of shocked at first and didn’t think something like that could happen to me,” says mathematics major Alejandro Gonzalez, who wants to become a high school teacher.

“When they told me I got it of all the people in the program, it really meant a lot,” says Bergholm, who is majoring in communications.

The Honors Program is comprised of 100 students who have achieved high academic standards in a variety of majors. “Without the Wells Fargo contributions we would not be able to offer financial assistance to deserving students,” Pomo says. Funding is placed in the OneCard accounts of the selected students, who can then use it to cover tuition or defray other academic expenses, such as book purchases, Pomo says.

“Scholarships are very important to us,” says Chevo Ramirez, regional vice president for the Wells Fargo Foundation and community development. The foundation provides support to a number of universities and colleges in the region, Pomo says, noting that some of the student recipients will later join financial institutes as bankers and managers.

The other component of the gift, the One Book Program, will be helmed by the English Department in collaboration with California Lectures, a literary arts non-profit group, says Alex Gonzalez Jr. The program promotes reading by providing copies of the same book to freshmen, followed by co-curricular events related to the book.

For more information on the Guardian Scholars, visit www.csus.edu/gs/. For information about the Honors Program, visit www.csus.edu/honorsprogram/. For media assistance, call Sacramento State’s Public Affairs office at (916) 278-6156.