San Diego Mortar Board Alumni Honors Engstrand, Fowler; Awards Scholarships

San Diego Mortar Board Alumni Honors Engstrand, Fowler; Awards Scholarships

The Mortar Board Alumni Chapter of San Diego County bestowed recognition to two valuable, longtime members of the local community — one a beloved educator and the other a noted businessman and philanthropist — and awarded $20,000 in scholarships to graduating students from the University of San Diego and San Diego State University at it 27th annual Honors Reception, held on March 18 in the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice.

Mortar Board Alumni 2017

The Mortar Board's Distinguished Alumna Award was presented to USD History Professor Iris Engstrand, PhD, in recognition of her many accomplishments, which includes a 48-year teaching career in San Diego, first in the San Diego College for Men in 1968 and, ever since the 1972 merger with the San Diego College for Women to become the University of San Diego. Engstrand, an internationally recognized bilingual scholar of Latin American, Mexican and Spanish history, has authored 21 books, including a few on USD's own history. She is also active as a trustee for the San Diego Natural History Museum and the San Diego Maritime Museum. She is a recipient of the prestigious Medal of the Order of Isabel la Catolica by Juan Carlos, King of Spain, for outstanding contributions to the history of Spain in the Americas. She has received numerous academic honors as well, including USD's own Davies Award. Engstrand is retiring from USD at the conclusion of the 2016-17 academic year. 

Mortar Board's Outstanding Service Award was presented to Ron Fowler, executive chairman and co-owner of the San Diego Padres, chairman and CEO of Liquid Investments, Inc. and a principal and board member of Columbia Distributing in Oregon, Washington and California. Through his work and through his dedication to give back to the communities he's a part of, Fowler has been a strong advocate and generous supporter of higher education for many years. Chairman Emeritus of USD's Board of Trustees, he's given major financial gifts to USD, San Diego State and to his alma mater, St. Thomas University in Minnesota. USD's baseball stadium, Fowler Park, was constructed with his support. The Entrepreneurial Management Center in the Fowler College of Business, came about through his efforts. He's served on the Board of Trustees at St. Thomas University as well.

USD Mortar Board Students Earn Scholarships 

The contributions of both Engstrand and Fowler are vast, but the event also rewarded some of the top students who comprise the current 2016-17 Mortar Board chapters at USD and at San Diego State.

Five scholarships went to four graduating USD students — Jayden Barrington, who won two scholarships, and Gianna Pappas, Emily Bezold and Karen Clark.

Barrington, a finance major and mathematics minor, received the Ron Fowler Mortar Board Scholarship and the Judith Lewis Logue Mortar Board Scholarship. Barrington possesses a 3.82 grade-point average. She aspires to enroll in law school — USD's School of Law is among five considerations at present time — with a focus on Intellectual Property Law. A native of Ukiah, Calif., Barrington has served as the student representative for the USD School of Business Strategic Planning Steering Committee, the school's Academic Integrity Committee, she's participated in clinic and pro-bono work to prepare for her legal education aspirations and she's a nationally certified, licensed and registered emergency medical technician, which includes serving in this capacity in her hometown.

Pappas, a biology major and English minor with a 3.46 GPA, received the Alice B. Hayes Mortar Board Scholarship. Pappas plans to pursue a master's degree in education and plans to teach middle school and/or high school biology. She has been a retreat leader and coordinator for USD's University Ministry and as a volunteer tutor at Linda Vista's Kit Carson Elementary School. She's an ambassador with Catholic Relief Services and has served as a liaison between USD and CRS. She's also participated and held executive positions in USD Medical Brigades and volunteered with Ronald McDonald House Charities and the Interfaith Shelter Network.

Bezold, an English major with minors in history and classical studies and a 3.97 GPA, is the recipient of the Joanne Tartre Herrin Scholarship for Excellence in English, English Literature or Humanities. Bezold is a member of the Sigma Tau Delta National English Honor Society. She has been a Tudor Plays Project intern and a Medieval and Renaissance Studies minor fellow. She's volunteered for Ronald McDonald House Charities, Bayside Community Center in Linda Vista and Semester at Sea impact service projects. Her academic goal is to seek a master's degree in English literature and teach and engage students at the high school level.

Clark, who is from Rancho San Diego, Calif., is a history major with minors in theology and psychology and has a 3.74 GPA. She received the USD Mortar Board Scholarship. Clark is a member of University Ministry and sings in the Founders Chapel Choir. She's been a resident assistant for the last two years and been the recipient of an outstanding contribution to residential life Student Affairs award. She's served as a classroom aide at Hillsdale Middle School in El Cajon for eight years as well as a young adult volunteer for the Diocese of San Diego. Her career goal is to become an administrator at a middle or high school. She plans to enroll in the master's and credential cohort program for secondary education in USD's School of Leadership and Education Sciences.

Mortar Board, Inc. is a national honor society that recognizes college seniors for distinguished ability and achievement in scholarship, leadership, and service. The USD Mortar Board Chapter has been in existence since 2000.

— USD News Center

All photos taken by Rodney Nakamoto

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