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Town & Gown, UC San Diego

Meet Jamal Williams '18
December's Scholar SpeakerJamal Williams

Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience

Jamal graduated from UC San Diego in 2018 with a degree in Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience. He is currently in graduate school here on campus. The road to a college degree wasn't straight-forward for Jamal. After dropping out, he went to work for Apple for several years before deciding it was time to get a degree, transferring to UC San Diego in 2016 and earning Provost's Honors his first quarter. "The experiences I gained outside of academia helped to influence my goals. I know that my goals will require a lot of work and I cannot rely on my intelligence to get me very far. If I cannot put in the work I will fail.”

Jamal is on his way, thanks to the Town & Gown scholarship he received his last year at UC San Diego, and how graduate school. Learn more.

Meet Christopher Fernandes
January's Scholar SpeakerChris Fernandes

Human Biology :: Minerva Kunzel Scholar

At the age of 23, Christopher stepped onto the campus of Mesa Community College and was nearly overcome by emotions ranging from the fear of not being academically competent to attend college, to the excitement of achieving his greatest personal goal of returning to school. “I’d always felt a burning desire to study human health and medicine, but the pathway never seemed friendly.”

Raised in South Africa near the Indian Ocean, Chris has always been immersed in water, and has been an ocean lifeguard and EMT here for over five years. One of Chris's goals is to "significantly reduce the staggering drowning rates in the U.S.,” he says. Learn more.


About Town & Gown

Founded in 2007, Town & Gown sponsors lively monthly luncheon programs addressing the most interesting issues of our times, featuring UC San Diego professors and researchers, as well as luminaries from other organizations.

Town & Gown lunches are held each month, October through May, at Farmer & The Seahorse. These programs are open to members of Town & Gown and their guests.

Our Founder, Lucy Haugh, passed in 2017. Learn more about this remarkable woman.

Supporting Students

Access to the intellectual capital at UC San Diego is increasingly out of reach for many promising young people who aspire to learn, grow and ultimately contribute.

Town & Gown members voluntarily support undergraduates by donating to student scholarships throughout the year. The number of Town & Gown scholarships awarded annually has continued to increase as a result of our members' generosity.

After establishing a named Town & Gown scholarship several years ago through a pledge, Town & Gown member, and UC San Diego alumnus, Dawn Grob '87 fulfilled her $50,000 pledge to fund the Dawn '87 & Matt Grob & Family Endowed Scholarship. This year you’ll meet the first “Grob Scholar,” Najah Ahmed, a Chemical Engineering major.

This is the seventh Town & Gown endowment now generating a named scholarship:

  • Dawn '87 & Matt Grob & Family Endowed Scholarship
  • Lucy and Jim Haugh Scholarship Endowment
  • Sally and Louis Higger Memorial Scholarship Endowment
  • Minerva Kunzel Scholarship Endowment
  • Elizabeth and Joseph Taft Scholarship Endowment
  • Ursula and Hans Moede Scholarship Endowment
  • Bebe and Marvin Zigman Scholarship Endowment

Each of these endowments generates funds that are partly matched by our membership fees, so every member helps make it possible for us to award $5,000 scholarships. As the endowments are invested and grow over time, fewer membership-matched funds are needed.

The Town & Gown Named Endowed Scholarship program is unique at UC San Diego; it is the only named scholarship endowment that may be pledged with just a $5,000 gift and taking up to ten years to reach the minimum level of $50,000. (Five-year pledges are the norm for nonprofits.) A fully-funded named Town & Gown Endowed scholarship is $150,000.

Through visibility in our communications pieces, Town & Gown is able to acknowledge and thank those donors who have started their endowment. Once it’s fully funded and begins generating a scholarship named in their honor, it is the remarkable Scholars themselves who provide the real satisfaction to their benefactors.

If you’d like information about leaving a gift to Town & Gown Scholars in your will, please contact Suzetta Martindale at or (858) 246-0316.  Learn more.

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