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Gonzalez Scholarship Fund Tops $100K

Published: November 14, 2016

It’s been a year since CSULB design student Nohemi Gonzalez lost her life during the terrorist attacks in and around Paris on Nov. 13, 2015. But, she is not forgotten. Far from it.

“She gave so much of her time and energy and we feel it on a daily basis and we want to honor that,” said CSULB Department of Design Chair Martin Herman about Gonzalez, who was a senior studying at the Strate School of Design during a semester abroad program last November. “Her fingerprint is all over this Design Department and will continue to be.”

In an effort to honor her, soon after she passed, a campaign was set up to raise money for The Nohemi Gonzalez Scholarship for International Study. Funds from the endowment will support design students doing something related to international study.

The scholarship is intended to help promote the understanding of how design and design thinking can have a positive effect on global issues and can be used for study abroad, conferences, competitions, student research projects or other design-related endeavors.

The fund’s goal of $100,000 was reached early in the campaign, thanks to $25,000 raised from individuals along with a $75,000 gift from an anonymous donor.

“We were extremely grateful because we raised the $25,000 relatively quick, within a couple of months, and with the anonymous gift, it put us up over the $100,000 mark,” said Herman. “To date, we have raised a $106,000 endowment out of which we can support a student (or students) in their academic pursuits related to international study.”

Herman anticipates the endowed fund to generate $4,000-$5,000 annually with that money used to assist one or more deserving students.

“We’re just going to gauge that each year,” said Herman. “It can, for example, be split to support more than one student at a time.”

The application process is underway and the first scholarship(s) could be awarded as early as the spring or summer, but more likely next fall, according to Herman.

How would Gonzalez, the El Monte native who graduated from CSULB posthumously last May, feel about the scholarship fund?

Remembering Nohemi Gonzalez

“From the point of making opportunities available to other students, I think she would be happy about that,” said Herman. “She was all about helping students achieve their dreams when she was here. She really devoted great passion and energy, not only to her own work, but to her colleagues’ work as well and she’s greatly beloved because of that. No doubt she would be supportive of these future opportunities being made available in her name.”

The scholarship fund is in addition to the Nohemi Gonzalez Shop Initiative, which is raising money to refurbish, remodel, and rename the Design Department lower division shop after Gonzalez.

On Sunday, Nov. 13, there was an informal gathering in the Department of Design gallery to share fellowship and remember Gonzalez. The event included a tree-planting ceremony, an idea initiated by campus’ French Club, which took place at the campus’ south entrance, just across from the Foundation Building.