Actress Rita Moreno to speak at event honoring students receiving full UC Berkeley scholarships

By Jose Rodriguez, University Relations

BERKELEY-- Broadway and film actress Rita Moreno will address students receiving the prestigious Incentive Award, a full scholarship to the University of California, Berkeley that is given annually to students in public high schools in Northern California who have overcome great disadvantage.

Students and their families will be honored at a reception and dinner on Friday, June 4, at the Palace Hotel, 2 New Montgomery St. (at Market St.) in San Francisco. This year, 33 scholarships are being awarded, the greatest number ever in a single year.

This year's recipients span a wide range of life experiences and are both native-born and immigrant, representing a spectrum of cultural backgrounds.

They include an immigrant from Bosnia, children of farm workers, students who have called attention to deteriorating school facilities, athletes who have succeeded in spite of physical challenges, and high-achieving students who have had to work to help support their families.

The Osher Foundation & Gabilan Foundation Incentive Awards Program selects one exceptional student annually from each of the participating public high schools in Northern California. Students selected are UC-eligible and have exhibited exceptional academic promise and leadership potential despite great socioeconomic hardship.

Each Incentive Awards scholar receives a four-year, $24,000 scholarship as part of a comprehensive financial aid package to UC Berkeley. Scholars also participate in intensive leadership development and community-building activities at UC Berkeley and in their former high schools, where they return to help inspire and recruit other students to attend college.

Keynote speaker Rita Moreno, who overcame extreme disadvantage in her own youth, went on to become the only woman in the United States to receive the four most prestigious performing arts awards - the Oscar, the Tony, the Emmy and the Grammy. She is an outspoken advocate of programs dedicated to empowering young people through educational and cultural opportunities.

UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert M. Berdahl will present the Incentive Awards to each student. Wendy Tokuda, KRON-TV anchor and special assignment reporter, will serve as emcee of the event.

Founded in 1992, the Incentive Awards Program has grown from 13 public high schools in San Francisco to encompass school districts in the East Bay, the Peninsula and Salinas, thanks to support from the Bernard Osher Foundation, the Gabilan Foundation and hundreds of other donors. A significant gift from the Whittier Family Foundations expands the program this year to 20 Los Angeles public high schools.

Representatives of the media are welcome to attend the event as guests. For more information, call (510) 643-5810.

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