Class of ’61 boosts student scholarship fund

Members of the La Sierra University Class of 1961 pose for a class photo on April 16, alumni weekend, with university President Randal Wisbey, far left, second row.
Members of the La Sierra University Class of 1961 pose for a class photo on April 16, alumni weekend, with university President Randal Wisbey, far left, second row.

April 26, 2011
By Darla Martin Tucker

Vanisara “Nikki” Anthony was thrilled to receive the scholarship check from the La Sierra University Class of 1961 a couple of years ago. The money meant a great deal to the business management and marketing major.

“Students are in need of scholarships,” said Anthony, now a senior. “As a dedicated student, I work very hard to make sure my parents’ money is worthwhile, spending it for me for this education. It is amazing when others want to invest their money in me and stretch out a hand to help. I really appreciate it.”

Anthony is among six students who have benefitted from the generosity of a scholarship fund created in 2001 by the La Sierra Class of 1961. The class is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and in recognition of this milestone, class leaders have worked the past several months to build the fund toward broadening its positive impact.

Jan Green, class president, and Marilyn Crane, class vice president, were instrumental in working with La Sierra’s alumni and advancement offices in seeking donations from class members toward bolstering the scholarship. Members were presented with donation opportunities in letters, phone calls and other communication promoting alumni weekend, held April 15-17, and seeking members’ input for a class memory book the alumni office was creating. Ultimately the effort raised $8,580 to reach a total scholarship fund amount of $31,225 as of April 26. The increased fund will result in larger student scholarship awards next school year.

“I just felt like the more we could increase the fund the better impact we would have on giving to the students,” Crane said. “If we don’t actively increase the fund it sits there.”  The class’s celebration of its 50th anniversary year helped accelerate interest in donating to the fund, she said. Class member Doug Wear also contributed to the effort by making calls to other members, Crane said.

“We value our education at La Sierra. It doesn't matter what religious persuasion or profession a person ends up in, our time at La Sierra [College] was very, very important,” said Green, a physician in Tucson, Ariz. “We want to share that experience with young people. Young people more than ever need monies,” and the scholarships give students a little more incentive and encouragement, he said.

The class held a 50th anniversary banquet the evening of April 16, one of many events and celebrations that took place during La Sierra’s Homecoming 2011. Former classmates crowded into the Cactus Room at the university’s Dining Commons and enjoyed an evening of fellowship and memories.

Warren S. Ashworth entertained the group with a marimba performance. Green presented a report to his former classmates on the scholarship fund, its balance and amounts raised. He said about a fourth of the 93-member class contributed to the scholarship fund.

Going forward, Green aims to broaden and increase his communication with class members and pull them closer, in part to lay a foundation for further scholarship fundraising.

Green also attended the alumni awards banquet and vespers held Friday evening to kick off the weekend’s events. “It’s the first time I’ve been back here in 50 years,” he said prior to the banquet’s start. “I’m pretty impressed with everything. I just think it’s beautiful.”

Commenting on the impact of his higher educational experience Green said, “La Sierra College taught me the importance and necessity for unconditional love and acceptance. I have been able to be more inclusive and accepting with the ability to make the mental amendments necessary for fulfilling my goals in life.”

Crane also spoke of La Sierra’s affect on her life. She met her future husband at La Sierra and enjoyed living in the dorm. Additionally, “many of the teachers were very influential on my life,” said the former history major. One of her most “helpful” experiences occurred when she worked in the library for La Sierra’s associate librarian at the time, Grace Prentice Holmes, Crane said.

Crane had decided she did not want to teach or work as a secretary. Holmes told Crane about the availability of a state scholarship for students to earn a master’s degree in library science. Crane was intrigued. “I got the scholarship, got a masters at the University of Southern California, and enjoyed 30-plus years of being a librarian,” she said. Her career included 23 years in the cataloging department at Loma Linda University’s Del E. Webb Memorial Library. She retired in 2008. “I like solving problems and connecting people with information,” commented Crane.

The spiral-bound 50th reunion memory book compiled and printed by La Sierra’s alumni office contains photographs of the former students when they attended La Sierra and includes summaries from many alumni of their lives the past 50 years, their memories and influences of campus life.  

La Sierra alums Annette and Gary Frykman described their life adventures on their profile page of the memory book. The couple met and married before graduating from La Sierra College. After completing their degrees, they embarked on a journey that included respective careers in K-12 education and orthopedic surgery, the raising of three boys, a stint living in Australia, worldwide travel, hiking, heliskiiing and an archeology dig in Jordan. Gary Frykman traveled to Pakistan, China and Nepal to aid the impoverished residents of those countries with his medical skills. Most recently he worked at the Seventh-day Adventist hospital in Haiti four months after the country’s devastating earthquake. His work included treating residents’ earth-quake-related, long-neglected injuries.

Wrote the Frykmans on their memory book page, “God has blessed the Frykmans immeasurably and [we] thank God for La Sierra for giving [us] a memorable start to a meaningful life together in this chaotic world.”


PR Contact: Larry Becker
Executive Director of University Relations
La Sierra University
Riverside, California
951.785.2460 (voice)

  • Last update on  April 26, 2011