Strengthening Community by Creating Scholarships

Michael Cervantes

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

For Michael Cervantes, success is defined by making a positive impact on others. A double alumnus with a Master’s in Education and a Master’s in Chicano Studies from Cal State LA, Michael lived his beliefs by teaching in the public school system, where he worked with children in the 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. It is a holistic approach to teaching where 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 the San Gabriel Mission Church or serving on the Alumni Association Scholarship Committee at Cal State LA, Michael is steadfast in lifting 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 support others.

Years later, Michael continues to create gifts (the newest one in memory of his sister, Dolores) and created a provision in his will for additional funding for these scholarships. Also, he included a gift in his estate plan for the University Library.

“I would like to thank my former thesis advisor, Dr. Cantú,” Michael says. “Also, I acknowledge the late Dr. Negrete, founding chair of Chicano Studies department, for their support while pursuing my Master’s and for asking me to join the University Library’s Friends of the Library, where I served as chair for two years.”

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 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.”

His giving philosophy is simple: When you help people in need, they, in turn, can help others.

“You make the world a better place that way,” he says. “I do my part, then the person helped does theirs, and it continues growing.”

Michael is active within the Cal State LA community, participating in activities within the College of Natural and Social Sciences, the Charter College of Education and the John F. Kennedy Library. In his greater community, he sponsors a student at his alma mater, San Gabriel Mission High School, sponsors their annual Essay-Scholarship Contest, and provides support to help set up activities and events at various organizations.

Join Others in Supporting Students

When you make a planned gift commitment to Cal State LA, you join Michael, and other supporters in the Heritage Society. As a member, you will be invited to special campus activities and events. Contact the Office of Planned Giving at (323) 343-3060 or for more information about joining the Heritage Society.

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