Linda & Bill Anderson and Raymond E. Davis Jr.

“People assume that because you’re an adult, you have the money to pay for school. It’s often even harder for returning students,” Anderson said.

February 09, 2011

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UC Santa Cruz donors Bill and Linda Anderson and Linda's father Raymond E. Davis Jr. honored Linda's mother with a scholarship in her name. To date, the Marilyn C. Davis Memorial Scholarship for Re-entry Women in Science and Engineering has provided financial support for 96 students.

“You’re married. You don’t need financial support for education.” That’s the fallacy Linda Anderson, UCSC project scientist and donor is working to overcome. “People assume that because you’re an adult, you have the money to pay for school.  It’s often even harder for returning students,” Anderson said.

That’s why she and her husband Bill established the Marilyn C. Davis Memorial Scholarships for Re-entry Women in Science and Engineering in memory of Linda’s mother, Marilyn C. Davis. Both Anderson and her mother were re-entry students who knew the challenge of balancing adult responsibilities with a college education.

When Davis died, the inheritance Anderson received offered her a unique opportunity for expressing herself. “Using the money to establish a scholarship in her name was the right choice for us.  It’s also an inspiration for others who agree that women in the sciences need support,” Anderson said. 

Anderson chose to focus her giving in this way because she remembers a time when women were rare in the sciences. “Bill and I give each year.  I wanted to do it because I wanted to give money away right away, but we want the fund to grow so we can support more women in the future,” she said.  

Other donors agree. “One woman I don’t even know has donated to the scholarship fund for three years in a row,” Anderson said. “My aunt and a female cousin who is an oncologist have also supported the fund.”

Anderson’s father, Raymond E. Davis Jr., supports the fund with an unusual asset—royalties from a book written by his father. “McGraw-Hill was paying me an amazing amount of money on two very old books by my father,” Davis said. “One of these books is considered the ‘surveying bible’ and is used in many schools as part of their survey classes. It was a spontaneous way to honor Marilyn. She’s the greatest thing that ever happened to me.”

Since the scholarship was established in 1990, the Marilyn C. Davis Memorial Scholarships for Re-entry Women in Science and Engineering, 96 women in the sciences have received monetary awards.

The scholarship fund provides two types of grants: professional development awards and urgently needed funds. Professional development awards can be used to support activities such as field research or publication of articles. “Sometimes you just need airfare to get to a conference,” Anderson said. “We’re here to support the thousands of little expenses that accompany an education in the sciences.”

Anderson is amazed by the obstacles the scholarship candidates overcome.  One recent recipient “left an abusive marriage with three young boys. While on welfare, she was pursuing an undergraduate degree.  In addition to managing her family life and speaking out for welfare women in four-year colleges, she managed to do research and attend national meetings to present her work on six occasions.” Anderson recounted. “We funded her to travel to present a paper for a competition put on by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), where, as one of two undergraduates competing with graduate students, she received an honorable mention.”

To learn more about this student award or to support its goals at UC Santa Cruz, please contact Jennifer Svihus at (831) 459-5591 or jsvihus@ucsc.edu.