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Rushton Award established for academic excellence in Chinese

Firefighters honored; gift redirected to help others



June 14, 2004

Awards and Honors

Rushton Award established for academic excellence in Chinese

Matthew Pendergast (center) with his UCSC Chinese teachers— lecturers Jacqueline Ku (left) and David Keenan.
Photo: Scott Rappaport

History major Matthew Pendergast has been honored with the first-ever Peter Rushton Memorial Scholarship for academic excellence in the Chinese language. The award was created to honor Rushton, a lecturer in Chinese at UCSC who died in 2000. Language studies lecturer Jacqueline Ku (his spouse), family members, and friends had previously established the Peter Rushton Endowed Memorial Fund in memory of the life and work of the distinguished Chinese instructor.

The scholarship is intended to assist a full-time undergraduate student each year with travel expenses to China. Preference is given to those who are interested in visiting China or Taiwan to pursue studies through the Education Abroad Program. Pendergast said he would use the award to support his internship this summer with the Reuters news agency in Peking. He spent last year studying Chinese at Southwest University for Minorities in China’s Sichuan Province.

Firefighters honored; gift redirected to help others

UCSC firefighters (l-r) Britten Miles, Capt. Don Brookes, and Coleen Canright-Ulrich work on the Cedar Fire in San Diego County.

Grateful residents of the Julian area have expressed their appreciation to Santa Cruz County firefighters--including UCSC’s Fire Department--for helping save the historic San Diego County town during the Cedar fire of 2003.

"The brave firefighters of Santa Cruz County . . . fought to save our homes as everything around burned. We know that through their heroic efforts our home was one of many that they saved," the owners of the Mohata Ranch and three families wrote in a letter to firefighters. Three UCSC firefighters, Don Brookes, Britten Miles, and Coleen Canright-Ulrich, and a UCSC fire engine were part of a five-engine "task force" from Santa Cruz County joining the fight against the blaze (see Currents story).

The letter writers said they had wanted to give a donation to Santa Cruz County firefighters but were "selflessly asked that we redirect it to the Steven Rucker and Doug McDonald family funds to honor their fallen and injured brothers. The firefighters were deeply saddened by the loss of engineer Rucker, as are we." See story on Rucker. The letter writers donated $2,000 to the Steven Rucker Fund and $1,000 to the Doug McDonald Fund.

Rucker was killed and his fellow Novato Fire Protection District firefighter Capt. Doug McDonald was severely burned trying to save a mountain home near Wynola in October 2003 when the fire flared up and overran them.

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