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Student, Alumni & Donor Stories

  • Bryan Sierra-Rivera

    As a child, I don’t think I could have imagined that I would be where I am today. When we arrived in the United States, we lived in the one car garage of my aunt’s home. I felt the need to work to help my family, rather than attend high school. Today, I am a first-generation college student at CSU Monterey Bay majoring in Biology with a concentration in Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology and a minor in Chemistry, and I was recently awarded the 2018 California State University (CSU) Trustees’ award for Outstanding Achievement; the CSU’s highest recognition of student achievement.

  • Theresa Dexter

    When I was twelve years old, my mother left my sister and I. We were juggled between family members for a few years, and eventually placed in the child welfare system. I remained in foster care until I turned 18, in March of my senior year of high school. My foster family said “Congrats, you’re on your own.” Problem was, I wouldn’t graduate high school until June—not that anyone expected me to finish high school.

  • Magnolia Zarraga

    Magnolia Zarraga graduated cum laude with distinction in 2003 she received a B.A. in Collaborative Health and Human Services from Cal State Monterey Bay prior to obtaining a JD from Monterey College of Law.

  • Making the way for those with a will

    Jack and Peggy Downes Baskin settle into comfortable chairs in a living room appointed with significant art brought home like souvenirs of meaningful experiences around the world. A wall of French doors reveals a silent view of the sea, hanging like a faded watercolor in the distance, until darkness closes in like a curtain, and the conversation shifts.

  • Frank and Donna McDowell invest in students

    A young man, achieving at the top of his class, was entering his senior year at CSU Monterey Bay (CSUMB), when it became clear he would need to return to the fields near his King City home to earn enough money to complete his education. “It’s okay; it keeps me humble,” he said, seeing this, not as a road block in the journey toward his college degree, but merely as a curve in the path on which he would continue toward his goal.

  • Outstanding in his Field

    Once he sold the farm and the farmhouse that went with it, Bob Johnson had no idea where to find a wall big enough to house the expansive oil painting his late wife Sue had inherited from her family. Sue had known all her life that, despite the absence of a signature, the expressionist oil painting of Inspiration Point in Yosemite Valley had been painted in 1877 by her great grandmother Mary Berkhalter.

  • Melissa Trevino

    "I almost gave up. It had taken several starts and stops for me to pursue my college education, but my parents, migrant field workers, had instilled in me the importance of an education."

  • Helen Rucker endows scholarship

    Helen Rucker, a retired teacher and librarian and longtime community activist on the Monterey Peninsula, endowed a scholarship she had been awarding annually since 1998 in honor of her late husband, James, who served at Fort Ord.

  • Rod & Sue Dewar: Supporting Research Opportunities

    The Dewars recently made a planned gift to CSUMB to support programs like UROC. Rod Dewar, a Monterey attorney, said the program can be a life-changing event for students.

  • In Memory: Bruce Woolpert

    Bruce passed away in a tragic boating accident. To honor his legacy, the Woolpert Foundation is supporting the Algebra Academy, an innovative program developed by CSUMB and Graniterock which provides intensive mentoring in algebra during a one-week period for Rolling Hills Middle School students.

  • Bob Antle: CSUMB remembers a long-time friend

    President Ochoa recalls Bob Antle: "Bob was a wonderful human being, a good friend and one of the first to welcome Holly and me to the community. He was deeply interested in the work of our university and I will greatly miss him as a leader, a confidant and a friend."


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