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January 23, 2006

Soroptimists make support for students permanent

By Louise Donahue

Local Soroptimists have been helping UCSC students for years, but now the organization has made sure its support will never waver.

Photo: Soroptimists
UCSC's Ronaldo Ramirez, center, joins a Soroptimist International gathering.

Soroptimist International of Santa Cruz has set up an endowment to supplement its longtime annual funding of scholarships for UCSC transfer and re-entry students.

"We figure those are the ones who need the most help," said Lora Allanson, president of Soroptimist International of Santa Cruz and a UCSC alumna. "It's really a struggle for them to find the money to fund their educations. We have also endowed a similar scholarship at Cabrillo College."

Fellow Soroptimist Corinne Miller, and the recipient of the 2005 Women Helping Women award, noted that the organization has a local and national tradition of supporting single parents returning to college. "These are students who often have no support or financial safety net from family," said Miller, who is also director of Services for Transfer and Re-Entry Students "The endowment establishes a connection between the Soroptimists and UCSC into the future," she said.

Soroptimist International of Santa Cruz is a professional women’s service organization committed to improving the lives of women and children in their local community, as well as throughout the world. In addition to Allanson and Miller, members with close ties to UCSC include Soroptimist treasurer Barbara Canfield, a member of the UC Santa Cruz Foundation; president-elect Nancy Woodling Eder, an assistant to the Social Sciences dean; former president Christina Valentino, associate vice chancellor of Business and Administrative Services; and past president Merry Bilgere, an alumna. Club members also include UCSC alumnae Catherine Graham and Michele David; a manager at Campus Facilities, Melody Pahel; and Affiliates board member Lorette Wood.

Soroptimists have been providing scholarships to UCSC students for about 20 years, and awarded four in 2005, to Anna Madan, Janelle Barbier, Maggie Downey-Quale, and Genevra Migliore.

As the $10,000 endowment grows, more students will be helped, said Ronaldo Ramirez, director of development for Student Affairs.

Those wishing to apply for the scholarships or find out more may contact Miller at

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