Harvesting the Fruits of Education
Silas Abrego made a commitment to himself early in life as he worked the fields in California. Picking "grapes in Selma, prunes in Santa Rosa, wine grapes in Cucamonga and apricots in Hemet," he came to a swift conclusion: "Education was going to be my ticket out."
The CSU Board of Trustees member and vice president emeritus for student affairs has dedicated his career to education and helping the underrepresented. He and his wife, Tina, recently pledged $50,000 to the Dr. Silas H. Abrego Scholarship Endowment Campaign, which supports the CSUF Abrego Future Scholars – high-achieving, low-income Hispanic students committed to community service, engagement or extracurricular activities. The fiveyear campaign seeks to grow the endowment to $1 million. "I want to help young people who aspire to have an education but whose schools might not be promoting higher education, or they face financial difficulty or don't have any role models to encourage them," he explained. "But they have this inner strength and motivation and desire to pursue higher education. I want the scholarship to give them that opportunity."
Abrego earned numerous honors while at Cal State Fullerton, including the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) Lifetime Achievement Award and the Hispanic Education Endowment Fund (HEEF) Apple of Gold. Both awards were presented in 2014, in recognition of his commitment to Latino students' academic success. He founded the Hispanic Scholarship Golf Tournament in 1988 to support underrepresented students; the event has raised more than $1 million.
Abrego commended CSUF President Mildred García for her commitment to all students and "for not only attracting high-caliber Latino students, but also graduating them," he said. "I worked at Cal State Fullerton for 27 years around so many dedicated people. I'm so proud of this University."