Giving back is a shared theme for many UCLA alumni. It’s been an especially thoughtful journey for Ric Carlson ’69, who has contributed more than $500,000 to UCLA while volunteering on the Chancellor’s Society Cabinet Council and Northern California Volunteer Committee.
Carlson recently expanded his legacy by endowing a scholarship in the Division of Undergraduate Education in UCLA College, which played a critical role in his own professional success and personal fulfillment. Among other gifts, Carlson has now named two undergraduate scholarships for family members, whom he credits with teaching him about generosity.
Giving Back, Paying Forward
“Like many others, I feel fortunate: My parents and my aunt, not to mention UCLA, all helped give me a head start in life,” Carlson says. “With these scholarships, I get to pay back some of that debt while honoring them. I hope their example continues to inspire student recipients, as well as UCLA supporters who might reflect on their own relationships and feel the same desire to give back.”
Scholarship recipients are taking the lesson to heart. Physiological science major and certified EMT Faisal A. ’21 looks forward to his prospective healthcare career, but he isn’t waiting for the future to give back. A mentor with The Bruin Experiment, he helps spread science to underserved Los Angeles middle schools, finding creative ways to continue doing so during the pandemic. “As I approach the end of my four years here at UCLA, I cannot help but think about where I would be if it wasn’t for this scholarship,” he says. “Instead of worrying about how I am going to repay everything I owe, I am starting to pay it forward.”
A Legacy of Learning
Faisal received the Mildred Carlson Bergquist PhD Centennial Scholarship, which honors Carlson’s aunt who spent her career in education. And the new Jim & Dorothy Carlson Undergraduate Benefit Scholarship honors Carlson’s parents while giving back to UCLA College’s Division of Undergraduate Education, which Carlson knows will shape Bruins’ college experience and future success.
Carlson knows firsthand how formative a UCLA education is — his undergrad experience helped him confirm his values of learning and giving back. Given UCLA’s commitment to admitting the most qualified scholars and supporting those in financial need, today’s students can embark on their own path of discovery. Bridging a big campus with personalized support and community, the Division of Undergraduate Education helps Bruins along the way: Besides scholarships, it provides students with academic support, extracurricular programs, and leadership opportunities as they work toward graduation.
Connecting the Dots
Carlson also touts his UCLA experience as foundational for his financial consulting career, which has allowed him to combine his joy in giving back with a penchant for focused planning. In his own giving, he decided to allocate annual percentages to specific causes, including student support and cutting-edge life sciences research at UCLA. Carlson’s careful planning also includes a future estate gift that links his present giving with perpetual student support. And he paves the way for even more young people to access education and improve their families’ lives, whether advocating for UCLA with other alumni or helping a formerly incarcerated client open educational savings accounts for his children.
“This blend of giving back is very meaningful and rewarding,” says Carlson, who enjoys keeping up with other Bruins through committee activities. “It’s motivating to be around good people and to feel like you’re contributing your share, and it continues to be a joy to work with everyone at UCLA.”
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Published February 2021