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USC Gould Receives $3 Million Gift to Endow C. David Molina First Generation Professionals Program

Thursday, March 7, 2019

The gift also establishes the John Molina Scholarship Fund.
 
By Ben Dimapindan
 
John Molina JD ’89 (third from right) and Dean Andrew Guzman with students from Gould's First Generation Professionals (FGP) Program, Krystal Robles, Joe Egbule, Tyler Dobberstein and Lauren Rhea (left to right) (Photo by Tom Queally)
With the goal of promoting students’ academic success, professional growth and personal development, as well as helping diversify the legal profession, the USC Gould School of Law launched its First Generation Professionals (FGP) Program in 2015 — making it one of the first administratively run support programs of its kind among law schools nationwide.
 
Molina was the featured speaker at Gould's "Conversations with the Dean" event on March 6. (Photo by Tom Queally)
On March 6, the school received a significant contribution to advance this vital effort, announcing a $3 million gift by USC Gould alumnus John Molina JD ’89 to endow the program. The gift establishes the C. David Molina First Generation Professionals Program – named in honor of John Molina’s father – along with the John Molina Scholarship Fund.
 
“One of the hallmarks of USC Gould School is our commitment to ensuring the success of every student,” said Dean Andrew Guzman. “The FGP program helps us achieve that objective. That is why we place such a strong emphasis on academic and career support services, as well as diversity initiatives. We want to send the message, loud and clear, to all students that, ‘if you are admitted to USC Gould, you can thrive here.’”
 
“With John’s gift, we can support the tremendous work of our FGP program in perpetuity, so that future generations of Gould students will find an environment where they can learn and thrive,” Guzman added.
 
Spectrum of Support
 
Photo by Tom Queally
The First Generation Professionals Program provides an array of services and support to students who are the first in their families to earn a college degree, as well as students who are from lower-income backgrounds. The scope of FGP programming encompasses peer and alumni mentorship; seminars and workshops, from mastering professional etiquette to developing a growth mindset, among other topics; advisement by first-generation faculty members; and networking opportunities with law practitioners.
Molina with Malissa Barnwell-Scott, Gould’s director of student support and the First Generation Professionals Program (Photo by Tom Queally)
 
The FGP program launched four years ago with 37 participants who self-identified as first-generation students. Since then, the program has grown each year and currently includes about 70 students. The naming gift and endowment will provide programming support along with additional merit-based scholarship funding.
 
“I firmly believe in, and admire, the work of USC Gould’s First Generation Professionals Program, which plays a central role in furthering the law school’s efforts around diversity and opportunity,” Molina said. “My father was a first-generation college student.  I am proud and honored to name this program after him, a caring doctor and a person of strong character, who pioneered health care for California’s lowest-income families and individuals.”
 
An entrepreneur and philanthropist, Molina is a founding partner of Long Beach-based Pacific6 Enterprises, which focuses on ventures projects that positively affect people and communities, socially and economically.
 
“The C. David Molina First Generation Professionals Program and the John Molina Scholarship Fund not only provide essential financial support for our initiatives, but also raise the profile of our program as a whole,” said Malissa Barnwell-Scott, USC Gould’s director of student support and the First Generation Professionals Program. “It is our hope that this gift can have a pivotal impact on the diversity of the law school and, ultimately, the legal profession.”

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