Launchin Leaders PFLAG Scholarship Awards
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The PFLAG San Diego County Scholarship Portfolio

Since 1998, PFLAG San Diego County has overseen the awarding of over 140 scholarships in the amount of $280,000 to LGBTQ students. The portfolio of scholarship awards over-seen by the PFLAG Scholarship Committee continues to increase, including scholarships funded through former and current PFLAG members: the Rob Benzon Foundation, Raytheon, Qualcomm, and the Stephen G. Bowersox Memorial Scholarship, among others. The scholarships are awarded to LGBTQ high school seniors continuing on to higher education or full-time undergraduate and graduate students through a competitive application and essay process. The scholarship committee selects recipients based on commitment to their chosen field, financial need, and academic achievement. It is worth noting that one of the earliest recipients of a PFLAG SDC scholarship was Todd Gloria, Mayor of San Diego, who exemplifies the public service we support. “Launching Leaders” serves as both a platform to honor our recipients and a primary fundraiser for future scholarships.

PFLAG San Diego County Mission Statement: By meeting people where they are and collaborating with others, PFLAG SDC realizes its vision through: Support for families, allies and people who are LGBTQ; Education for ourselves and others about the unique issues and challenges facing people who are LGBTQ; Advocacy in our communities to change attitudes and create policies and laws that achieve full equality for people who are LGBTQ.

PFLAG San Diego County and its collaborators are pleased to offer these scholarships. Minimum scholarship amounts are $2,000, and more than one scholarship may be awarded in a given category. Applicants are encouraged to address the additional award factors considered for these named scholarships when submitting their essays.

Scholarship Descriptions

Gary A. Marcus Scholarship for the Fine and Applied Arts
This scholarship is open to students who are continuing their education in the fine and applied arts to include art programs, theatre, literature, and music. Mr. Marcus has a BFA and MFA from Maryland Institute College of Art and has been an Interior Designer in San Diego since 1970.

Bill Hanson Community College Scholarships
These scholarships are for those students who feel their career choices will be better met at a community college or recognized vocational program. The goal of these scholarships is to either prepare students for employment in current, emerging occupations, or establish a strong foundation for further studies.

M. Lynne Austin Memorial Scholarship
Ray and Jan Aller established the scholarship in memory of Rev. Martha Lynne Austin, a senior pastor of the United Methodist Church. Lynne was a life-long teacher who championed inclusiveness, tolerance and grace.

John Bessemer Memorial Scholarship
This scholarship is made possible through the generosity of PFLAG family and friends to honor John’s commitment to LGBTQ youth. John, whose passion was education, was the husband of Linda Bessemer, a past president.

Rob Benzon Memorial Scholarship
To honor their beloved and generous friend, Rob Benson, the Rob Benzon Foundation Scholarship was created to recognize youth who demonstrate a giving spirit and charisma.

Daniel J. Ferbal Memorial Scholarship
Dan was a founding member of the Rob Benzon Foundation, and this scholarship was created in his honor. He was not only a leader in the Foundation, but in the hotel industry, as well. He was enthusiastic toward life, caring, and had a great sense of humor.

Stephen G. Bowersox Memorial Scholarship
Through the generosity of the family, friends, and co-workers of the Donna and James Bowersox family, this scholarship has been sustained. Their son, Stephen, was the recipient of a 2003 scholarship. This award is strongly predicated on social justice, demonstrated involvement, and high academic achievement, as well as broad, far-reaching interests and activities.

Kendall Family Memorial Scholarship
Dr. Kendall was an elementary education professor for 30 years at San Diego State University and was a lifelong student himself. Joanna Kendall was a top-notch real estate agent. They believed in the power of every individual to have an impact in their community. It was Dr. & Mrs. Kendall who introduced their daughter, Terrie Vorono, to PFLAG 16 years ago. Terrie is the immediate past president of PFLAG San Diego County.

Qualcomm Scholarships
Funded by the eQuality LGBTQ Qualcomm Employee Network, these are merit-based scholarships awarded to outstanding individuals who are pursuing a STEM field.

Raytheon STEM Scholarship
This is provided by the members of The Raytheon RAYPRIDE Employee Resource Group as a STEM scholarship to attract, support and train future LGBTQ professionals in science, technology, engineering, or math.

Mary Wagner Memorial Scholarship
Mary’s former partner, Sharon Murphy, and her life-long friends, Marilyn and Art Carpenter, have contributed annually to the scholarship to honor Mary’s memory and enduring commitment to education.

Scholarship Requirements

Evaluation will be based upon commitment to the candidate’s goals in their chosen field, essay, financial need and academic achievement.

  • Minimum 3.0 GPA for High School Seniors
  • Minimum 2.8 GPA for College/Postgraduate Students
  • Resident of San Diego County at time of application
  • LGBTQ high school senior continuing higher education or
  • LGBTQ full-time undergraduate or graduate student

For deadlines and applications, visit the Scholarship Application page. If you have questions, please email us.

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