The Coca-Cola Foundation Awards $100K to LMU First-Generation Business Students

Ten students in the LMU College of Business Administration who are the first in their immediate families to attend college received part of a $100,000 scholarship grant from The Coca-Cola Foundation. The grant provides students with individual scholarships in the amount of $5,000-$10,000 each during the 2019-20 academic year. These scholarships were awarded based on varying levels of financial need, academic achievement (minimum 3.0 GPA) and participation in LMU’s First To Go mentoring program.

LMU’s Coca-Cola First-Generation Scholars were honored Wednesday, Oct. 23 at a breakfast reception on the Westchester campus. Leaders from LMU and Coca-Cola attended the reception to recognize the achievements of the scholars.

“The College of Business Administration is deeply committed to first generation scholars and we are so grateful to The Coca-Cola Foundation for making it possible for these future business leaders to obtain a world-class education at LMU,” said Dayle Smith, dean of the College of Business Administration. “We are an institution that prides itself on diversity and the encouragement of learning for all students, regardless of financial means.”

LMU Executive Vice President and Provost Thomas Poon, a first-generation college student himself, shared his wisdom with the scholars.

“A scholarship like this is incredibly impactful,” said Provost Poon. “Every first-generation student has their own unique story to tell. My advice is to think about your story, how you can tell it, how you can shape it, and then be sure to come back and share it.”

LMU alumnus Tim Heinen ’92, vice president of supply chain at Reyes Coca-Cola Bottling Co., encouraged the scholars to live their lives with meaning and purpose, guided by the Jesuit principles of an LMU education.

“There will be times in your life when you’ll need to make courageous decisions,” said Heinen. “The business acumen you get from LMU will help you along the way. Do the right thing and always keep your morals and ethics at the forefront.”

LMU’s Coca-Cola First-Generation Scholars are Shaniya Epps ’20 (marketing); Isabel Gonzalez ’20 (marketing); Brenda Hernandez ’21 (marketing); Jennifer Lopez ’21 (accounting); Vanessa Maldonado ’22 (management); Maria Fernanda Melendez Miranda ’23 (finance); Jaidan Olivier ’23 (management); Giovanni Recinos ’22 (marketing); Ariana Siordia ’20 (finance); and Mikael Wondu ’20 (finance).

This year also marks the 10th anniversary of First To Go at LMU. The program currently serves 737 first-generation students on campus and that number continues to grow each year.

Along with the First To Go program, LMU provides the Coca-Cola First-Generation Scholars with an array of support services as they pursue their education. As college tuition rates continue to rise across the nation, this grant helps reduce the financial burden for LMU business students.

Since 1993, The Coca-Cola Foundation has awarded more than $59 million in Coca-Cola First-Generation Scholarships to more than 5,000 students at over 680 U.S. campuses.

“The Coca-Cola Foundation continues to be an advocate for education and its promise for increased opportunities for young people and their families,” said Helen Smith Price, vice president of global community affairs, The Coca-Cola Company, and president of The Coca-Cola Foundation. “These scholarships complement LMU College of Business Administration’s work and commitment to help first-generation college students succeed.”