Since 1988, golfers have enjoyed the fun and competition of an annual golf tournament that benefits first-generation and low-income college students.
It was the dream of Silas Abrego, a first-generation college student who would eventually become a top administrator at Cal State Fullerton, to support and encourage others like himself to fulfill their educational and career dreams.
That first year, the tournament sold out and surpassed its $20,000 goal. Since then, the annual event has grown and expanded the scholarship program.
Cal State Fullerton’s Hispanic Scholarship Golf Tournament, presented by American Honda Motor Co., celebrated its 30th anniversary April 17, raising more than $200,000 to support students academic success. The tournament has raised more than $1 million during its three decades and more than 800 students have benefitted from what is now called the Abrego Future Scholars program, in honor of the CSUF vice president emeritus of student affairs and a California State University trustee.
Christian Murillo ’16 (B.A. international business-Spanish, B.A. Spanish), a marketing analyst for Honda Motor Co.’s Auto Export Sales Division, was the first in his family to attend college and wanted “the best college experience.” But he admits that he didn’t know how to do that.
“The Abrego Scholarship helped eased my path in many ways,” Murrillo explains. “When I first started college I was not involved … but by my last year in college I had participated in many things. All these networking activities and campus involvement helped shape the person I am now.
“Being in the Abrego Scholar program definitely prepared me for the real world,” he adds. “I can proudly say that I have the dream job I always wanted and all this was because of the great college experience I had.”
“I am still amazed that my decision to apply to the Abrego Future Scholars program as a high school student benefited me tremendously as a college student,” says Nancy Martinez-Gonzalez, a sophomore business administration major. She credits the program for giving her not only insight into what college was like, but also opportunities for growth.
The one-year program offers not only scholarships but also programs that help with academic, social and personal development, including mentoring, advising and leadership opportunities.
“Our goal is to provide exceptional student-centered programs, services and opportunities that empower students to achieve the greatest and highest potential in their academic, personal and professional lives,” says Jaime Hamilton, coordinator of the Abrego Future Scholars program. “Our scholars are leaders, shapers and creators of a better and brighter future.”
“I would tell other future scholars to definitely apply and take advantage of this great opportunity because someone out there cares about your success,” says Albert Bustamante, a business administration-operations and supply chain management major who has dreams of one day starting his own business.
“The Abrego Future Scholars gave me and continues to give others like me the opportunity to network, grow and to continue studying without being too financially burdened,” agrees Martinez-Gonzalez. “The program is helping me get one step closer to graduating.”