Gift will create Pacific's largest scholarship for veterans

Scholarship recipient Veasna Ling '21, Ali and Mona Dashti and scholarship recipient Jessica Aguilar '19

Scholarship recipient Veasna Ling '21 (left), Ali and Mona Dashti (middle) and scholarship recipient Jessica Aguilar '19 (right).

Regent Ali Dashti, chairman and CEO of KGL Logistics, established the KGL Veterans Endowed Scholarship in 2017 to support active duty, reserve, military-affiliated and veteran students at Pacific. Once fully funded next year, it will be the largest scholarship for veterans at the university.

Dashti made an initial $500,000 commitment to establish the scholarship in 2017. The gift is being matched over five years by Pacific’s Powell Match program, creating a $1 million endowment that will distribute about $40,000 each year in scholarships. 

KGL Logistics is a global leader in transportation, logistics, and supply chain management.

“University of the Pacific helped to lay the foundation of my career and set me on a path to success. The goal of this scholarship is to provide those same opportunities to America’s brave men and women,” Dashti said. “The KGL Veterans Endowed Scholarship is an extension of our commitment to support U.S. troops by providing veterans in pursuit of a high-quality education the resources needed to be successful.” 

“I am enormously grateful to Regent Dashti and KGL for creating this scholarship,” said Pacific President Christopher Callahan. “Our student veterans represent a group of focused, determined and selfless leaders who bring important life experiences that enrich Pacific’s classrooms. They have already sacrificed so much, and this scholarship will help relieve the financial strain of pursuing a college degree.”

In the four years since the scholarship was created, it has supported 12 students, with some students receiving the scholarship for consecutive years. 

“Deciding to go back to college after serving abroad was a scary decision,” said Marco Gonzalez, a KGL Veterans Endowed Scholarship recipient. “Without the scholarship, it would be nearly impossible for me to afford my education on top of my son’s college tuition.”

“I am extremely honored to receive this scholarship,” said Antwanisha Williamson, a Navy veteran and KGL Veterans Endowed Scholarship recipient earning her doctorate in Benerd College. “As a graduate student and veteran, we have very limited resources to aid in pursing graduate school. For most veterans, we fully exhaust our educational benefits as an undergrad. Any additional aid or support post undergrad is truly a blessing.”

Pacific is committed to providing opportunities and resources for veteran students to succeed. In September, the university held a dedication for the newly-renovated Military and Veteran Student Center that provides a safe and supportive space for veteran students to connect, study and build community.

“Receiving notice that the scholarship was granted was followed by an immediate rush of gratitude,” recipient Conner Bridges ’24 said. “My wife and I are were absolutely elated that this scholarship came through for us--it was like a weight had been lifted. I hope to graduate and use my work experience from my Co-Op to secure a job that will give me experience to guide me towards an engineering career in environmental sustainability.”

The Student Veteran Organization, which operates out of the Military and Veteran Student Center, helps make the transition to college as smooth as possible by providing resources that connect veteran students to academic services, internships and job opportunities.