Strengthening Community by Creating Scholarships

Michael Cervantes

Michael Cervantes created four scholarships to benefit Cal State LA students.

For Michael Cervantes, success is defined by making a positive impact on others. A double alumnus of Cal State LA, he lived this philosophy by teaching in the public school system, where he worked with children in low-income areas.

"When you teach, you're doing more than presenting subject matter," Michael says. "You get involved with the students. Sometimes they need extra support. In low-income areas, you must give more than 100 percent."

With deep family roots in Southern California, it makes sense that Michael finds fulfillment in strengthening his community. Whether through teaching, volunteering at his church or serving on Cal State LA's scholarship committee, he is steadfast in lifting up those around him. So, when he found a brochure on campus that described how to create a new scholarship award, he saw another opportunity to provide for others.

Ten years later, Michael has created and continues to make gifts to four scholarships and has a provision in his will for additional funding. He has also included a gift in his estate plan for the needs of the University Library after his lifetime.

"I would like to thank my thesis advisor, Dr. Cantu. Also, I would like to acknowledge Dr. Negrete, founding chair, Chicano Studies department, for his support while pursuing my master's degree and for asking me to join the University Library committee (Friends of the Library) where I served as chair for two years," Michael says.

Janet Dial, vice president for University Advancement and executive director of the Cal State LA Foundation, says gifts from loyal supporters like Michael help ensure critical resources for the future.

"Michael's philanthropy to Cal State LA has a transformative impact for our students and the entire campus community," she says. "Michael is a passionate supporter, engaging with students, faculty and staff at events across many disciplines and we are grateful for his support."

Michael's giving philosophy is simple: When you help others, they in turn can help others.

"You make the world a better place that way," he says. "I do my piece, then the person I help does his piece, and it keeps growing."

Create a Bright Future

Your future gift can help more Cal State LA students achieve their dreams. To learn more, contact Jacqueline M. Williams at (323) 343-3075 or

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