Thurmond Scholarships Help Six Women Achieve Their Academic Goals
Fullerton CA:  Women re-entering Fullerton College or California State University Fullerton have more opportunities to receive scholarships due to the generosity of Shirley Bloom, a longtime Fullerton resident. Shirley Bloom established YWCA Scholarships at Fullerton College and California State University Fullerton.

The Joan and Burnie Cohen Scholarship was established to help re-entry women attending Fullerton College to overcome barriers to their education and attain gainful employment.  The Late Bloomers Scholarship was also established to help re-entry women, 27 years or older, who have the greatest financial challenges.  A total of $7,400 was awarded to four women at the YWCA Annual Luncheon held on June 28.

The Joan and Burnie Cohen Scholarship was established in memory of Joan and Burnie Cohen who devoted their lives to service above self.  Both Joan and Burnie were both born in Los Angeles in the 1920’s. Joan was raised by a single mother who encouraged her in education and independence. Burnie grew up in a loving home and giving was always part of his nature. Both attended UCLA and married in 1951. They were active in the North Orange County, Joan with the League of Women’s Voters, the food bank and Pathways of Hope, and Burnie as a “reader” at Richman School. They had two children, Susan and Marty.

The Late Bloomers Scholarship was established in celebration of Shirley Bloom. Shirley was born in the mist of the depression in the 1930’s. There were no social programs to help suffering people until the 1940’s. There was no social security, welfare, food stamps, workers’ compensation or unemployment. Shirley managed to finish 2 years of college when she got married and moved to California. When the youngest of her 5 children turned 2, she returned to college at California State University Long Beach and received her degree in English with a teaching credential. She later went to work for Los Angeles County Department of Social Services. Shirley was a single mother struggling to get her children through college. In 1978 she remarried and moved to Fullerton. In 1993 she was widowed and retired. She joined AAUW and became active in the League of Women Voters, volunteered at the food bank, Pathways of Hope.

On June 28, two women received the first Joan and Burnie Cohen Scholarship Awards.  Marcela Ramirez, who is a single mother of two children, 1 year old daughter and a 9-year old son. She attends Fullerton College and hopes to get her Associate of Arts Degree. Her career goal is to get her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology and work for a nonprofit organization that helps pregnant women who have fallen victim to domestic violence.

The second recipient of the Joan and Burnie Cohen Scholarship Awards is Vanessa Coria. Vanessa comes from an impoverished family and has a learning disability, working hard with resources provided to shape her educational pathway. She plans on graduating from Fullerton College and getting a degree in Business.

The first Late Bloomers Scholarship was received by Karen Cogan. Both Karen and her husband lost their jobs just one year apart. They also lost their home to foreclosure. Her husband is working a part-time job and Karen’s hope is to secure a higher degree in communications at California State University Fullerton and get a good paying job.

Joanne Mace is the second Late Bloomers recipient who juggles work, family, and school and a part-time job. She has a daughter in high school whom she supports. Joanne is working towards her Master’s Degree in Fine Arts and wants to teach part-time at a college or university focusing on Art History.

Shirley’s primary goal is to help women who have the greatest financial challenges to continue to move forward in their education and gain skills that will result in employment and self-sufficiency.  Many achieve self-sufficiency through career opportunities offered at Fullerton College or will move forward to California State University with a four-year degree in their chosen field.
YWCA of North Orange County Expands College Scholarships for Re-entry Women
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Bill McGarvey Scholarship
Bill McGarvey's Sons Award 2016 YWCANOC Scholarship Awards

Mr. Bill McGarvey Jr., community philanthropist, and his friends, established a College Scholarship Fund for re-entry men and women, 25 years or older, attending California State University Fullerton. The scholarship is intended for re-entry students who do not qualify for financial aid but are in financial need. Pictured from left to right are our 2016 Scholarship Recipients Hartsborn and Andrew Kelly. Mr. Bill McGarvey III, pictured in the middle, awarded the scholarships in honor of his father.

The YWCA of North Orange County Bill McGarvey Scholarship recognizes and supports the efforts of the Adult Reentry population and their decision to return to the university to complete their education and achieve their academic and career goals.
With support and encouragement from her parents, Ruth Bradley Thurmond attended college during the Great Depression. In 1939, she married Charles D. Thurmond after fulfilling a promise to her father to teach for one year after receiving her B.A. degree.
Years later, she began working with the YWCA of North Orange County in the 1980s to secure basic essentials like food and shelter for foreign students. She was surprised to learn that few funding resources were available for women trying to re-enter college/university to complete their degrees.
Ruth’s own college and teaching experiences helped her recognize the life-changing impact of a college degree, especially for women. Thus, educating women, who are getting their degrees later in life, became her passion.
Thurmond Scholarship
Since the start of the Thurmond Scholarship, Ruth’s family has joined her in supporting both the YWCA of North Orange County and the Thurmond Scholarship. After Ruth’s death in 2005, her son Don C. Thurmond continued her mission to support the organization. In 2010, he was the first man appointed in 84 years to the Board of Directors of the YWCA of North Orange County. He served as treasurer for six years and is currently on the finance committee while also overseeing investments made by the Thurmond Scholarship to generate interest income to fund the scholarships. Don, his wife Roseanne, and his sister Carole Ruth Thurmond Wills continue to administer the Thurmond Scholarship with important application screening assistance from members of the YWCA of North Orange County.

The YWCA of North Orange County
215 E. Commonwealth Ave., Suite F, Fullerton, CA 92832
(714) 871-4488
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Thurmond Scholarship Brochure
Thurmond Scholarship Application
Joan & Burnie Cohen Criteria
Joan & Burnie Cohen Application
Late Bloomers Criteria
Late Bloomers Application