A California Lutheran University scholarship founder and one of the university’s major donors is about to graduate more than 30 years after starting her undergraduate degree. Allison Clago was celebrated at a reception in the President’s Dining Room on Tuesday, April 17 at 4 p.m. with President Chris Kimball there to honor her recent large estate donation.
Michael Pearce, an associate professor of art, taught the Philosophy of Art class that Clago was in last year.
“It’s really nice to have someone like Allison in the class to provide a different flavor of experience,” Pearce said. “She was always willing to contribute ideas and thoughts and experience.”
According to the Cal Lutheran academic works website, Clago, a financial advisor at Wedbush Securities, first enrolled at California Lutheran College in 1980. She was working on a degree in political science and a minor in economics, but after her junior year, she didn’t have the funds to finish.
Double alumna Lana Clark, director of stewardship, said that last year Clago expressed interest in finishing her undergraduate degree.
“I didn’t think she was entirely serious at the time. I had a moment of thinking, ‘Why would you need a degree?’” Clark said.
Pearce said Clago has been very successful as a broker, but that he thinks she wanted to finish what she started and close that chapter.
After becoming financially successful 10 years after leaving Cal Lutheran, Clago returned to pay the $3,000 debt to the university that she had left behind. According to the Cal Lutheran academic works website, Clago’s $3,000 check was accompanied by sizeable donation and a note that said, “This is with my gratitude for the fine-tuned education that gave me the foundation for success.”
Clago is the original benefactor of the Clago Family Endowed Scholarship. Clark said the first contribution she made alongside her debt payment established the scholarship in December of 1993.
“She’s been very dedicated to the scholarship, she’s made a large gift to the science initiative and she’s kind of been one of these quiet benefactors that has just been very generous,” Clark said.
Clark said that Clago’s recent large donation came in the form of an estate gift. Clago also continues to fund the scholarship annually. The criteria for the scholarship was originally set that students awarded needed a minimum GPA of 3.0 and an economics or finance major.
Allocation of the scholarship depends on the needs of students, Clark said. There are two recipients this year: Jasmine Bernardo and Slade Rheaume.
Slade Rheaume, a 25-year-old economics major graduating in 2019, said, “I was pretty surprised that they even offered me scholarship money because none of the other schools, regardless of how good my grades were, offered me any money.”
Rheaume said that before coming to Cal Lutheran, he went to Moorpark College, Santa Monica College, California State University, Northridge and Pepperdine University.
“I just couldn’t really find the right fit,” Rheaume said.
Rheaume said he chose Cal Lutheran for the economics program, which is well-known and established.
Clark said she could not give the exact amount of Clago’s donation because it is “private information.”
According to the Cal Lutheran Annual Report of 2014 – 2015, Clago’s donations put her in the $5,000 – $9,999 bracket.
“She has contributed a substantial sum toward the science building,” Pearce said.
According to Clago’s own website, she has worked for many companies in finance, including TD Ameritrade. In addition to the California Lutheran University Scholarship Society, Clago also supports the Alzheimer’s Association of California and is on the boards of both the John Wayne Cancer Institute and the Providence Tarzana Foundation.
“It’s pretty rare to be that successful and not have a college degree. Nowadays, that’s nearly impossible,” Rheaume said.