In the academic world of fashion, design and merchandising, tuition can be an extra concern for students already facing the difficult task of making a name for themselves in a competitive industry. However, thanks to gifts of $1,000 from both the Joy Kingston Foundation and Argyle Partners, three California State University, Northridge seniors have been awarded scholarships that will allow them to focus on their dreams of creating the next biggest fashion craze.
Olivia Valdez, a single parent and senior majoring in apparel merchandising, was awarded the Houman Salem/Argyle Partners Scholarship. Houman Salem ’94 (History) is founder and CEO of Argyle Partners, which provides management consulting services to companies in the fashion, apparel and retail industries. “This gift was not only meant to help students,” said Salem, “but to also let them know that Argyle Partners is here for them and to extend opportunities to them that otherwise would not be available.”
These kinds of resources are exactly what students in design programs need to get ahead, said Layne. “It’s very hard to get involved at an entry-level position,” he said. “Scholarships at the senior level give students a great chance to enhance their portfolios and unload that financial burden so that they can launch themselves into the community.”
Salem relates to the current challenges faced by CSUN students. “I know the cost of college is getting more and more expensive,” he said. “I really just wanted to help with that problem. I used to be a student who struggled to get by financially and, as an alumnus, it not only feels good to give back but it feels right to give back to a university that gave me so much.”
“I think the concept of philanthropy can be lost in a difficult economic environment,” Layne added, “which is why it’s so important to introduce young people to the benefits of philanthropy. This way, it can create a full circle and they can help future students to achieve their goals … so that they can keep paying it forward.”
“Paying it forward” is exactly what Valdez plans on doing. “Although I am not ‘scholarship donating’ ready in my career, I do my best to give back where I can,” she said. “I look forward to donating scholarships in the future, and I am so thankful to be the recipient of my own scholarship! It’s very rewarding and inspiring as well!”
- Chris Shoup