Pacific’s new board chair creates scholarship for Black students

Norm Allen ’88, ’94, chair of Pacific's Board of Regents, creates Lift Every Voice scholarship for Black undergraduate students with unmet financial need and a demonstrated interest in leadership.

Alumnus Norm Allen ’88, ’94, who assumed the role of chair of Pacific’s Board of Regents on July 1, hasn’t wasted any time establishing his priorities. Allen is leading a new Regents effort to focus on diversity, equity and inclusion issues at Pacific and has made a personal financial contribution to start a new scholarship, the Lift Every Voice scholarship, to support Black students at Pacific.

The new scholarship, designed for Black undergraduate students with unmet financial need and a demonstrated interest in leadership, will be in addition to several existing scholarships for students of color.

Allen, who has also endowed scholarships for first generation, Stockton-area and LGBTQ+ students, says the inspiration for the gift comes from his deep belief that every student interested in pursuing an undergraduate education at Pacific should have the opportunity to do so, especially those who face hurdles as a result of racial inequality in the United States.

“I want to help others experience the life-altering impact of a Pacific education,” said Allen. “I hate the idea that some students would be denied their dream because of systemic racism and social injustice.”

The gift comes just weeks after the board’s adoption of a new set of social justice initiatives spearheaded by Allen. “University of the Pacific is committed to social justice and the eradication of systemic racism…and the Board of Regents must also take its place in this discussion,” read the board’s policy statement issued on August 13.

Allen, who was a first-generation college graduate himself, is passionate about empowering students to find their voices as leaders, especially in the areas of racial justice, diversity, equity and inclusion.

“My hope is that the scholarship’s purpose will resonate with young Black student leaders who want to address social justice,” Allen said.

He also hopes the scholarship will grow over time and appeal to others who want to support Black students at Pacific. Donors interested in contributing to the Lift Every Voice scholarship fund may give online. To learn more or ask questions, please contact Georgette Hunefeld at ghunefeld@pacific.edu.

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