In 1934, as the United States reeled from the Great Depression, the Cal Alumni Association (CAA) launched the statewide Alumni Scholarship Fund to pay for half the room and board of 26 students on the Berkeley and Los Angeles University of California campuses. Today the fund, under a new name—The Leadership Award—is the largest non-academic merit-based scholarship on the UC Berkeley campus.
The title “Leadership” was added to the name of the award in 1999 to honor scholarship recipients for their innovative and motivational leadership in academic, work, and community spaces. Every year, approximately 750 new and continuing students receive The Leadership Award. Each of them plays an active role on campus through their participation in student groups, rallies their community to become involved in socio-political issues, and helps uplift those around them.
There are now more than 25,000 alumni scholars who have received The Leadership Award over the past 85 years, and together, they form a community of diverse and dynamic leaders who have continued to exhibit the same drive and passion for serving others and being leaders in their communities even after they graduate from Cal.
CAA hosted a celebration of 85 years of The Leadership Award on March 22, 2019. At the event, we invited four 2018 – 2019 Leadership Award recipients and three program alumni to share more details about their stories of leadership and how receiving this award shaped their path at Cal.
In this series, four of the current award recipients share more of their own stories and how they have learned to redefine leadership for themselves.