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Five students receive Clanton Scholarships

November 14, 2005

Photo of Tyrisha BerryThis year's recipients of scholarships from the Berry and Vera Lee Clanton Endowed Scholarship Fund at SFSU have at least one thing in common. All plan to pursue careers that will help others succeed and some have had to overcome obstacles to get to college. Earlier this semester students Tyrisha D. Berry, Siaira Harris, Herbert Hatcher, Michelle Gomez and Fauna Willow Harrington were recognized for their perseverance with a total of $10,000 in scholarship support.

The Clanton Fund was established at SFSU in 2000 by Vera Lee Clanton in memory of her late husband to provide financial assistance to deserving, under-represented students at the University.

Photo of Clanton Scholarship winner Herbert Hatcher"From self-doubt to self-sufficiency, San Francisco State has helped me grow," said recipient Berry, who is legal guardian of her younger brother. She has also taken advantage of SFSU's Stay in School Family Resource Center and credits this program for the help she has received while studying for a degree in social work.

Harris, who devotes her time outside of school to Youth Making a Change, a nonprofit youth rights organization, said that she has always been inspired by women in her family who overcame obstacles to get an education. Majoring in speech organizational communication in the Speech and Communication Studies Department, she plans to continue her volunteer work while pursuing a career in the music recording industry.

Hatcher is earning a degree in sociology and has struggled with peripheral neuropathy, a nervous system affliction, for almost 30 years. "I chose not to listen to limitations," he said. "I reached within and drew on all the inner strength and used all the outer support I could to defy the odds."

Gomez overcame domestic violence and alcoholism to pursue her dream of a career as a graphic artist. A volunteer for a number of organizations, the single mother hopes to apply her talents and skills to working with nonprofit organizations.

Harrington, who has just begun coursework toward a graduate degree in education, credits her mother for a rich appreciation of learning. She hopes to apply her education to improving public education.

Berry Clanton was the first African American to become a longshoreman in San Francisco. While he was not an educated man, his wife maintains, he held a "master's degree in life." Vera Lee continues to be an active member of her community, continuing a tradition she began with her husband more than 50 years ago.

For details on the scholarship, contact Evelyn Hooker, executive assistant to the vice president of student affairs, at (415) 338-2032 or

-- Denize Springer
Photo: Mitch Wong


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Last modified November 14, 2005 by University Communications