Paying It Forward
“My brothers and I could not have afforded Ivy League educations were it not for the generosity of others”, says Debbie Juran CSUMB Foundation Board member and adoptive mother of two CSU Monterey Bay Alumnae.
Born to a bricklayer father who didn’t have access to educational opportunities and a mother from the coal mining country in Pennsylvania, Debbie and her brothers were driven to succeed academically. Debbie attended Bucknell University on scholarships and work study. “Giving people opportunities for an education they otherwise couldn’t afford is a core value of mine. Combine that core value with the caliber of people and educational opportunities available at CSUMB and it’s a compelling situation.”
We were raised knowing how important giving back is to our mom.— Morgan Juran
One of few women in the field of wealth management, Debbie has been advising clients and their families for over 40 years. She considers herself blessed to have the trust and longevity of relationships with the people she advises. Following the advice she gives her clients, Debbie has built up a significant fund for her retirement.
She recently established a planned gift for CSUMB’s College of Education, which will predominantly benefit low income and first generation students. “I respect what Dean Jose Luis Alvarado is doing very much. He inspired and focused my philanthropic goals for a gift to CSUMB. He told me most first generation students don’t have money for study materials. I can relate to that. Given I could impact that situation we created a broader platform for a Legacy gift to the College of Education.”
Debbie has always taken a hands-on approach to investing. She loves to travel and witness the markets first hand. She’s done the same with her philanthropy. She serves on the CSUMB Foundation Board including a key role on the investment committee. Being involved at that level gives her confidence that her charity is well placed.
Closer to home
Elyse and Morgan were both adopted at birth. Debbie raised them as a single, working mother without, she says, the help of an owner’s manual. Both girls initially went away to college. They both struggled and eventually returned home and enrolled at CSUMB. “Although it was a challenging time for all of us, it was the right and courageous move on behalf of the girls,” says Debbie.
Both of Debbie’s daughters, Elyse and Morgan, graduated from CSUMB, in 2013 and 2017, respectively. “They both have great jobs, they’re wonderful women and productive human beings. I’m very proud of both of them,” Debbie says.
“I knew CSUMB was a great school with a growing psychology department,” says Elyse about her decision to attend the university closer to home. “The faculty was wonderful and incredibly supportive.”
She credits faculty members Kathryn England-Aytes and Axil Cricchio as “particularly influential” in her success. Both provided in-depth guidance as instructors and mentors, helping her laser in on her interests and pursue graduate school. She ultimately landed a very competitive graduate fellowship at the University of Denver, where she earned her master’s in early childhood special education. She now works with the Denver Public Schools to provide services to children ages five and under with developmental delays.
Morgan, on the other hand, wanted to work in digital forensics, which she explains is like the show CSI, but “rather than searching for fingerprints, it’s looking at digital evidence—things like texts, photos, or Facebook messages.”
Morgan majored in computer science and information technology, with a focus in network security. She even got a chance to help the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office set up their computer forensics lab as her service learning placement. But perhaps more importantly, she found the sense of community she was looking for. That close-knit network led to Morgan landing a job after graduation when a fellow alum recruited her to the Department of Defense, where she now works as an incident manager.
”My mom is a very strong woman and raised us to be the same. She modeled hard work, compassion and integrity and made sure I knew that I could do anything I put my mind to,” says Morgan. “We were raised knowing how important giving back is to our mom. Not everyone has had the opportunities Elyse and I had. I’m happy my Mom is able to do this for other students. She sure loves CSUMB!”