Chapman Honors California’s Gold Scholars

Seven Chapman University seniors were honored this year with the California’s Gold Scholarship, endowed by TV legend Huell Howser. The seven represent diverse fields of study ranging from dance to biochemistry. But they have one thing in common: a commitment to make a difference.

Founded by the late TV legend Huell Howser before his death in 2013, the California’s Gold Scholarship recognizes select students who display a positive outlook and who are actively pursuing ways to improve society as altruistic change agents.

This year’s recipients are:

  • Vidal Arroyo, biochemistry and molecular biology, Schmid College of Science and Technology
  • Erica Green, psychology, Crean College of Health and Behavioral Sciences
  • Melanie Rutledge, sociology, Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences
  • Morgan Thomas, psychology, Crean College of Health and Behavioral Sciences
  • Darliene Zepeda-Field, integrated educational studies, Attallah College of Educational Studies
  • Nathaniel Fernandez, sociology, Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences
  • Hannah Fozkos, dance and kinesiology, College of Performing Arts and Crean College of Health and Behavioral Sciences

Howser forged a strong personal bond with Chapman University and its students in the last years of his life after receiving a personal invitation to tour campus from President Emeritus Jim Doti. In addition to his many contributions to the University, Howser endowed the California’s Gold Scholarship at Chapman.

The project was “near and dear to his heart,” Doti said. “He wanted to create a legacy that will make an impact on the lives of students far into the future.”

Because it is an endowment, the California’s Gold Scholarship Fund will continue creating educational opportunities for Chapman students for generations to come. As Howser himself put it, “A hundred years from now, there won’t be a person walking on this planet who knows or cares who Huell Howser was. The words ‘California’s Gold’ will no longer mean anything about me or a television series. They’ll mean what California’s Gold has always meant: not the literal gold nuggets that they pulled out of the earth, not the riches people got when they came here—but the dreams that brought people here and are still bringing people here.  Every cent these students receive helps them to meet their goals and their dreams.”

Display image at top/From left, Vidal Arroyo, Erica Green, Darliene Zepeda-Field, President Daniele Struppa, Morgan Thomas and Melanie Rutledge.

Stephanie House