Access to Opportunities

February 09, 2011

Charles Tolliver, Jr.

“I focused more on my academics,” said Charles Tolliver Jr. (Merrill College), describing the impact scholarship support had on his studies at UC Santa Cruz. Tolliver was the first recipient of the Eric Thomas Memorial Scholarship, an award established to celebrate the life and achievements of the late alumnus. The scholarship recognizes and supports students who demonstrate community service.

A South Central Los Angeles native who had never been outside the U.S., Tolliver worked the summer between his junior and senior years and saved enough money for one quarter in the Education Abroad Program in Rome. Now he's nearly fluent in Italian. The scholarship support he received supplemented his savings, enabling him to get more out of the trip and not have to worry about fees and book expenses as he completed his degree.

A legal studies major and sociology minor, Tolliver is starting a master’s program in Africana studies, with an emphasis in African American studies, at the University at Albany, State University of New York. His long-term goal: a J.D. in criminal justice. “I would like to say thank you to the donors who helped create the Eric Thomas scholarship,” said Tolliver. “This support has given me access to opportunities I otherwise would not have had.”