The James Akira Hirabayashi Person for All Seasons Scholarship

James Hirabayashi with SFSU President's Medal 10-22-2009James Akira Hirabayashi (10/31/1926 to 5/23/2012) was the founding dean of the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University. He subsequently served as the Dean of Undergraduate Studies and retired as a Professor Emeritus. He was awarded the prestigious SF State Presidential Medal by President Robert Corrigan in 2009. His courage, intellectual integrity, and ability to communicate across various communities made him a man for all seasons. Hirabayashi's career accomplishments are balanced by wide community service, quiet strength, and generosity. He taught and mentored hundreds of people over decades from all disciplines—not just a professor but as a guitarist, jeweler, Asian American Theater Company actor, softball pitcher, Mongolian griddle gourmet cook, husband, and father. This scholarship is being offered to support upper division undergraduate students who seek to be persons for all seasons and are considering a career that is interdisciplinary and in public service. The scholarship will be awarded in the fall semester. Two awards will be funded for $1000 each. The scholarship is non-renewable. Recipient may only receive this scholarship one time.

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Annetta and Gertie Jolivette Empowerment Scholarship

Annetta JolivetteGertie JolivetteThe Annetta and Gertie Jolivette Empowerment Scholarship Fund recognizes and honors the lives of Annetta Donan Foster Jolivette and Gertie Lee Fontenot Jolivette. Annetta Donan Foster Jolivette born in 1944 dedicated her life to fostering youth and opened up a group home for boys while working full time for the United States Postal Service. Gertie Lee Fontenot Jolivette born in 1928 was an avid Catholic parishioner at Our Lady of the Visitation Church in San Francisco. After raising her own five children she acted a surrogate mother to numerous grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. She also owned and operated Gertie’s Sunlight Room never turning away hungry customers who could not pay.

The Annetta and Gertie Jolivette Empowerment Scholarship Fund provides financial support to students in the College of Ethnic Studies who are committed to advancing social justice and whose career goals are aligned with Annetta and Gertie Jolivette’s lifelong commitment to serving youth from diverse and underserved communities.

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D. Phillip McGee Memorial Scholarship

D Phillip McGee - College of Ethnic Studies Dean 1980-1999D. Phillip McGee, a noted authority on ethnic studies in higher education and a popular figure on the SF State campus and around the Bay Area, died June 29, 1999. Dr. McGee had been dean of S.F. State's College of Ethnic Studies since 1980. He was awarded the prestigious SF State Presidential Medal for Service by President Corrigan in 1999. The D. Phillip McGee Memorial Scholarship Fund awards $1,000 to students who are in their junior or senior year at San Francisco State University at the time of the award. Students applying must have financial need as determined by the Office of Student Financial Aid and minimum GPA of 3.0. Preference will be given to economically disadvantaged students who are committed to helping others with similar backgrounds.

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Betty Parent Achievement Award

Betty Parent at 2016 Birthday CelebrationThe Betty Parent Achievement Award recognizes Dr. Elizabeth "Betty" Parent’s achievements and on-going inspiration. Dr. Parent was the first Alaska Native woman to earn a Ph.D. and the first Alaska Native woman to obtain tenure as a full professor. She is also the first full professor in American Indian Studies at San Francisco State University. Her tenure at SF State established a precedent of excellence in teaching, research, and community service that many American Indians seek to emulate. Dr. Parent was in inducted into the Alaska Women’s Hall of Fame in 2017 for her achievement in educational leadership and advocacy for Native people.

The Betty Parent Achievement Award honors outstanding undergraduate and graduate students at San Francisco State University who are committed to working with and/or in an American Indian tribal community, nation, and/or organization. The award provides honorees with funds for purchasing books for their academic endeavors.

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Queer Ethnic Studies Graduate Student Scholarship

The Queer Ethnic Studies Graduate Student Scholarship recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students whose graduate student thesis focus on the intersection of race, gender and sexuality. The scholarship was established as part of the Queer Ethnic Studies Initiative in the College of Ethnic Studies and is funded by generous donations from faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the College.

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Edward Said Scholarship

Edward Said Mural at SF StateThe Edward Said Scholarship was established by SF State Alumnus Allam El Qadah in honor of Professor Edward Wadie Said, a Palestinian American literary theorist and public intellectual who helped found the critical-theory field of Post-colonialism and was a champion of justice for and in Palestine. The scholarship is open to undergraduate and graduates students of Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas (AMED) Studies who demonstrate an outstanding academic record and community service that exemplifies what Professor Edward Said stood for.

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Jerry Wayne Varnado Ethnic Studies Scholarship Fund

Jerry W. VarnadoJerry Wayne Varnado received a BA in Economics from San Francisco State University in 1969. As a student, he was involved with the Negro Students Association and co-founded the Black Student Union (BSU). In 1968, he and his fellow BSU leaders in coalition with the Third World Liberation Front, other students, faculty, and community members organized the nation’s longest student strike to protest the lack of access, misrepresentation, and the overall neglect of indigenous peoples and people of color within the University’s curriculum and programs. The activism of the strikers was the impetus for the founding of the College of Ethnic Studies in 1969.

The Jerry Wayne Varnado Ethnic Studies Scholarship recognizes and assists promising undergraduate students majoring or minoring in the College of Ethnic Studies with a scholarship award of $6,000 ($3,000 in fall and $3,000 in spring). Students must have a minimum GPA of 2.0 and demonstrate: 1) an aspiration to be a productive member of society; 2) commitment to the values of social justice, diversity and inclusivity; and 3) participation in service or activities that advance these values.

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Make a donation to the Jerry W. Varnado Ethnic Studies Scholarship Fund.

New Leader Scholarship

The New Leader Scholarship provides several scholarships up to $8,000 per year with potential for renewal. Additional assistance for costs of graduate school application and graduate entry exams may also be available to recipients. The New Leader Scholarship is especially designed to provide aid to students who come from financially and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds and demonstrate leadership capacities. Preference given to those dedicated to serve communities of color, or newly immigrated, economically or educationally disadvantaged communities.

The NLS is seeking students who:

  • Have a 3.5 GPA or higher (consideration given to students with a GPA of 3.2 – 3.49 with special circumstances)
  • Have attended SF State for at least one academic year
  • Plan to pursue advanced education in the social sciences, human services, health-related fields or public service
  • Can demonstrate an ability to lead in the service of the public good

Please visit to learn more about the New Leader Scholarship, view video testimonials, and download the scholarship application. If you have questions, please contact 10,000 Degrees at (415) 451-­4002 or

This is a sample of internal and external scholarships available to SF State students. To search for more scholarship opportunities, visit AcademicWorks. Click on the Opportunities button to switch between SF State and external scholarship opportunities.

To learn how to establish an endowed or named scholarship fund in the College of Ethnic Studies, please contact Alex Sanchez, Director of Development, at or (415) 338-1032.