Beverly Tucker has found a way to support education. (Photo: Diane Daniel)
So many of us complain of the cuts to education. Instead, Beverly Tucker of Oakland has come up with a way to help.
A lifelong advocate of public education, she has donated $11,000 for 2011 to a scholarship for California State University, East Bay's Human Development and Women’s Studies students. And she is determined to grow it further next year.
Tucker already had an annual contribution of $1,000 in place when she got thinking about what more she could do.
Last fall, she told her 34-year-old son, Azizi, she didn’t need Christmas gifts, but instead preferred a contribution to education. When he responded with a gift of $5,000, she was impressed, stunned and knew she had to match it, Tucker said.
Then, she received a total of $1,800 from her brother and sister-in-law, Christopher and Stephanie Scales of Concord, her brother Kenneth Scales in Detroit, and friend, Deborah Churchill, bringing the total to $11,000. She’s set a goal of $20,000 for 2012, perhaps augmented with fundraising in addition to the personal gifts.
Tucker, the first in her family to attend and graduate from college, earned a bachelor’s degree from Wayne State University while working both full-time and part-time jobs and benefitting from scholarships. She then attended the University of California, Berkeley, where she was able to earn her law degree due to the relatively low tuition at the time.
Her link to CSUEB occurred more than a decade ago when brother Christopher earned his degree at the Hayward campus after futile attempts in Michigan where he was foiled by the combination of high fees and numerous jobs.
“I believe that education is the solution to providing a better life,” said Tucker. “I was so impressed with what Cal State East Bay offers, how reasonable the cost was then, how it attracts older students and enables them to get their degrees, and how it trains teachers, that I always wanted to contribute to it in some way.”
Retired after 19 years as chief counsel for the California Teachers Association and a member of the Northern California American Civil Liberties Union Board of Directors, she well knows, “People will give if you ask them, but usually, we don’t ask.”
She intends to turn that around.
Patricia Guthrie, professor and chair of human development and women’s studies, established the initial scholarship in Tucker’s name in mid-2000. The money is typically divided between two human development and women's studies students. One idea is to eventually increase some of the grants to the equivalent of one quarter’s tuition.
“In today’s world of increasing costs of higher education, coupled with the slump in the job market, scholarships really make the difference for many CSUEB students," said Guthrie. "Without this assistance, some of our students would not be able to attend college.”