$100,000 Gift from Sea Mar and MultiCare Supports Underrepresented Students

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The gift will establish the Sea Mar-MultiCare Endowed Scholarship, providing financial assistance to undergraduate students at UW's Tacoma and Seattle campuses.

The University of Washington today announced a $100,000 gift to the Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity (OMA&D) and UW Tacoma’s Office of Equity & Inclusion (OEI). The gift will provide financial assistance to undergraduate students participating in the Educational Opportunity Program at the UW in Seattle and in programs under development within OEI on the Tacoma campus.

Sea Mar Community Health Centers and MultiCare Health Systems made the gift to establish the Sea Mar-MultiCare Endowed Scholarship. Sea Mar, headquartered in Seattle, is a community-based organization that provides comprehensive health, human, housing, educational and cultural services to diverse communities, specializing in services to Latinos. It has services and health centers in 12 western Washington counties. MultiCare, headquartered in Tacoma, provides hospital, primary, specialty, emergency and urgent care services across Washington state.

“Sea Mar is proud to join with MultiCare to invest in the future leaders that graduate from the University of Washington,” said Rogelio Riojas, President and CEO of Sea Mar, a UW Regent and an alumnus of the university.

“We know that education is an important component of building healthy communities and it is our privilege to partner with Sea Mar to expand access to a college education,” said MultiCare CEO and President Bill Robertson.

“We know UW students represent the next generation of healthcare professionals in our region,” said Riojas, “and both our organizations want to be there to support their success.”

On the Seattle campus, the scholarship will provide financial assistance to undergraduate students participating in OMA&D’s Educational Opportunity Program. EOP promotes academic success and graduation for under-represented ethnic minority, economically disadvantaged and first-generation college students at the UW in Seattle.

On the Tacoma campus, the scholarship will support undergraduate students participating in programs and activities of the Office of Equity & Inclusion, which includes the Center for Equity & Inclusion.

Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, low-income students from underrepresented and marginalized groups face many barriers to completing a college degree, including financial. According to recent government data, only 14 percent of the lowest-income students finish a degree within eight years of first enrolling.

“In the context of declining public support, scholarships from philanthropy are an incredibly important way we can ensure all members of our community have access to college,” said Dr. James McShay, Vice Chancellor for Equity & Inclusion at UW Tacoma. “The generosity of these two pillars of our non-profit healthcare community will impact students now and for generations to come,” said Rickey Hall, Vice President for Minority Affairs & Diversity and University Diversity Officer at the UW.

The gift commitment comes at the close of the UW’s ambitious philanthropic campaign, “Be Boundless – For Washington, For the World.” The Sea Mar-MultiCare Endowed Scholarship is one of more than 700 new scholarships that have been created on all three UW campuses during the campaign thanks to donor support.

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Written by: 
John Burkhardt / October 5, 2020
Photos by: 
Ryan Moriarty
Media contact: 

John Burkhardt, UW Tacoma Communications, 253-692-4536 or johnbjr@uw.edu