Sam Attisha ’89 was one of 10 to 15 senior student leaders at the University of San Diego when their idea of building a legacy was born.
“The people who wanted to do something were all active on campus: the student body government, athletics, academics, the Greeks and clubs,” Attisha recalls. “Our initial focus was to leave some kind of legacy like a bench or a fountain.”
But then came the idea that made the most sense to the entire group and one that has become a USD tradition: the Senior Class Legacy.
“We came up with the idea of a scholarship program that invests in the next generation,” Attisha said.
It’s a scholarship program by students for students. Every year, graduating USD seniors are asked to participate by making small gifts to the university’s scholarship fund. The committee members then ask their fellow classmates to follow their lead.
Funds raised by each senior class support a scholarship for students from the incoming freshmen class. For example, funds raised by the Class of 2011 will be distributed over the next four years to deserving students from the Class of 2015.
Each spring, graduates from the sponsoring class select the scholarship recipients. Alumni from these classes review and evaluate scholarship applications and select recipients based on financial need, academic performance and the student’s legacy left through campus involvement that impacts future USD students.
Since the program’s inception, more than $410,000 has been raised and more than 310 scholarships have been awarded.
“To me it was the initial understanding of the need to give back,” said Attisha, who still donates back to USD. “As I’ve grown, so has my connection to the university. I am humbled to think back to 1989 and know that something created more than 20 years ago is still going. It’s an amazing feeling.”
— Ryan T. Blystone