Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Awards Gerald Richardson III Prestigious National Scholarship
Richardson, who graduated with five associate degrees, was one of over 1,300 students from 370 community colleges nationwide to apply for the scholarship. A total of 72 students were selected based on academic ability and achievement, financial need, persistence and leadership.
As part of the scholarship, Richardson will receive comprehensive educational and career advising, as well as information about opportunities for internships, international study and graduate school funding. This will be important for Richardson, who wants to pursue a doctorate in public policy and a Juris Doctor. Ultimately, he wants to write legislation and work in public service.
"My career goals include living a life of advocacy for human rights. I plan to create a pro-bono law firm for communities made vulnerable by inadequate support and public policy," explained Richardson.
Mentors at Oxnard and Moorpark colleges empowered him, encouraging him to pursue his "passion for serving others." Being at the colleges also helped him overcome the experiences of relentless racial bullying and the retaliation he faced in the school-to-prison pipeline. The incidents of being criminalized at school instead of being educated led Richardson to doubt whether higher education was for him, he said.
"Gerald represents what community colleges do best—helping students find their career pathway and inspiring them to spread their wings to take on leadership roles that make a difference in students' lives," said Chancellor Greg Gillespie. "Gerald worked hard on causes related to diversity, equity and inclusion within our District."
Richardson has held several key leadership positions at the local and state level, including legislative affairs director of Region VI for the Student Senate, California Community Colleges (CCC). This spring, the CCC Board of Governors presented him with its inaugural Student Leadership Award. He garnered the award for lobbying California legislators on issues involving equity, basic needs and COVID-19 relief.
At MC, he was president of the BSU, public relations officer for the Honors Club and vice president of the African American Male Education Network & Development chapter. At OC, he served as senate chair for the Associated Student Government. In the community, he served as a director at the Brilliant Minds Youth Foundation and was the founder and president of Youthfully Evolved Society.