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December 14, 1998

Alumnus establishes scholarship fund at UCSC to honor his parents

By Barbara McKenna

To honor his parents and show his appreciation for the education he received, a former student has established an endowment in classical studies at UCSC.

James Draznin (left) chats with Mary-Kay Gamel, his former teacher, and David Jacobson, the recipient of this year's Draznin Memorial Scholarship in Classical Studies.

The gift of $10,000 was donated by James Draznin, who graduated from UCSC in 1977 with degrees in classics and politics. His gift has established the Sol and Esther Draznin Memorial Scholarship in Classical Studies, which will provide one undergraduate student each year with a $500 scholarship.

Students are selected through faculty nominations based on outstanding and distinctive scholarship. This year's recipient is David Jacobson, a senior majoring in classical studies at UCSC.

Draznin, who is director of planned and major gifts at Portland State University, says he decided to create the scholarship for several reasons. "The education I received at UCSC was exceptional and I want to help make that opportunity available for other students. I also want to honor my parents, who were big believers in the importance of a college education."

At a November reception honoring both Draznin and Jacobson, Jacobson noted that he chose to major in classics largely because of the faculty in that discipline. "The faculty are extremely committed to their students and do everything they can to answer my questions and encourage independent thinking," he said. "Classics at UCSC, to me, is best summed up by Cowell College's motto: 'The pursuit of truth in the company of friends.'"

For Jacobson, whose goal is to earn a doctorate and teach at the university level, the scholarship frees him from working as a tutor and enables him to devote more time to studying. He says he will also purchase some books he couldn't previously afford.

"James was an outstanding student and it's wonderful to see him supporting other students with such potential," says Mary-Kay Gamel, an associate professor of classics and comparative literature who has taught both Draznin and Jacobson. "His gift has such a positive impact on the program and will make a difference in perpetuity. I hope other alumni will be inspired by James's generosity."

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