William K. Chase Memorial Endowed Scholarship Established

Sep 15, 2015

A gift in the memory of a Stockton business leader, William K. Chase, will establish a new scholarship to support the academic pursuits of generations of University of the Pacific students in its Community Involvement Program.

Through the Powell Match opportunity, the family-owned auto dealership's gift of $250,000 was matched dollar for dollar by the $125 million Powell Fund, bringing the total value of this new endowed scholarship to $500,000.

The memorial scholarship was established by Chase Chevrolet to honor the local business owner, leader and patriarch for more than 50 years.

"My father was a kind and generous man who passionately believed in paying it forward," said John W. Chase, the third-generation owner of Chase Chevrolet in Stockton. "I wanted to pay tribute to him in a way that reinvests in the community and creates opportunities for local youth - with tremendous potential - for generations to come."

In this spirit, the William K. Chase Scholarship will be awarded each year in perpetuity to two CIP students who exhibit a strong work ethic and noteworthy achievements despite socio-economic challenges. Chase Chevrolet's gift is an effort to close the gap in opportunity for those with aptitude who exceed their circumstances, especially for those whose character is community service oriented.

Pacific's CIP is a comprehensive, need-based scholarship program for first-generation college students from the Stockton area who have demonstrated the potential for sustainable leadership, community awareness and involvement. CIP serves the educational needs of low-income students by providing access to college along with a broad network of support and resources. Established in 1969 by a group of students, community members, faculty, and staff, the program seeks to provide educational opportunities to the local community and diversify the Pacific campus. More than 1,000 students have graduated from the program since its inception.

"One of the most distinctive things about Pacific is the deep sense of community," said Allison Dumas, CIP director. "Year after year, CIP students - many of whom never thought a Pacific education was within reach - have their lives forever changed by this experience. In honoring Mr. Chase's 'pay it forward' ethos, this scholarship will help us continue to transform the lives of our students and, in turn, the greater community, paying it forward for years to come."

The inaugural William K. Chase Community Involvement Program Scholars are Jimmy Suliman '16 and Iliana Abarca '18, both Stockton natives.

The son of Syrian immigrants, Suliman is the youngest of four children and the first in his family born in the United States. A transfer from San Joaquin Delta College and active member of the Pacific Pre-Dental Society, Suliman will graduate this spring with a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology and is considering pursuing a Master of Science degree in microbiology before attending dental school in 2017.

Suliman's ambition and deep sense of civic identity are evident as he recalls visiting Syria at age 17: "I had always viewed myself as Syrian, my family is from Syria and I speak fluent Arabic, but when I arrived in Syria, I experienced significant culture shock ... that led me to feel more connected to the place where I was born and raised and instilled in me a passion for community involvement."

A graduate of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program at Franklin High School in Stockton, Pacific was Abarca's first choice, and acceptance in CIP solidified her decision.

"I love being a part of CIP," said Abarca. "I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to build such a strong bond with my peers and make a genuine difference in our community."

Abarca is an exploratory major in her second year with diverse interests ranging from art and dance to mathematics and social justice, and is considering a business major with a minor in graphic design. In addition to her academic pursuits, Abarca works three jobs and is insistent on improving her hometown's reputation and condition in any way she can.

About University of the Pacific Established in 1851 as the first chartered institution of higher education in California, University of the Pacific prepares students for professional and personal success through rigorous academics, small classes, and a supportive and engaging culture. Widely recognized as one of the most beautiful private university campuses in the West, the Stockton campus offers more than 80 majors in seven schools. The university's distinctive Northern California footprint also includes a campus in San Francisco, home to the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry and new graduate programs in health, food and technology fields, and in Sacramento, home to the Pacific McGeorge School of Law and new graduate programs in health, education, business and public policy. For more information, visit www.pacific.edu.

Media contact: Claudia Morain | 209.946.2313 (office) | 209.497.9894 (cell) | cmorain@pacific.edu