In Honor of Women’s History Month, Thank You Winifred Steiner

It was 1933 when Winifred Steiner was finishing her studies Long Beach Community College in California. She wanted to go on to Berkeley to complete her BA, but she didn’t have the money to pay for the difference after she was offered a scholarship that wasn’t enough to cover all the expenses.  Winnie thought her chances of finishing her four-year degree were over; until her adviser, Jessie Anderson, loaned her the $500 she needed.
It was one woman helping another woman.
When Winnie graduated from UCB two year later, she began to repay the loan.  It took her three years to repay Anderson and a lifelong friendship had formed. 
It was one woman supporting another woman.

When Anderson died in 1963, she bequeathed the exact amount she had loaned to Winnie 30 years earlier – $500. This gave Winnie an idea: Why not use the same $500 to help more women further their education? In 1965, she used the bequest, increased with an additional gift from Anderson’s widower, to establish The Anderson Scholarship at the University of California Santa Cruz.

It was one woman leaving a legacy for another woman.

Nearly 30 years later, I was the lucky recipient of the scholarship that is awarded to entering first-year women students with scholastic promise and demonstrated ability.  For four years, I had the honor of meeting with Winnie and her family at a yearly luncheon honoring past and present recipients.  Just as with Winnie’s education, the $500 helped bridge the gap between what my parents could afford to pay and the actual tuition bill. 

It became one woman helping over 50 women.

The generosity extended from Jessie Anderson 75 years ago has inspired decades of support for UCSC students. It’s been 15 years since I received The Anderson Scholarship. Since graduating with a BA in Feminist Politics, I’ve gone on to have my own success; owed, in small part, to Winnie and Jessie.

Now it’s time for this woman to pay it forward.

Today, I contacted UCSC to find out how I can repay the $500 I was awarded back into The Anderson Scholarship. $500 may not go as far today at it went into 1933, but it’s the legacy that will remain priceless. 

One woman helping another woman; inspiring that woman to help more women.  Thank you, Winifred Steiner, for selecting me to be a link on this beautiful chain.

Photo credit: University of California Santa Cruz

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