On May 8th, 2015, Cerro Coso Community College’s Eastern Sierra College Center celebrated the graduation of the class of 2015. The ceremony was the largest ever held at the Bishop campus; over 600 people attended to show support for family and friends among the graduates. Over 60 students accepted their diplomas, comprising a wonderfully diverse collection of success stories. Graduates not only earned a wide array of technical certificates and Associates Degrees, they also boasted transfer destinations such as UC Berkeley, UC Davis, Cornell University, Cal Poly SLO, Chico State, CSU Fullerton, San Jose State, CSU San Diego, Western Governors University, Southern New Hampshire University, Cal State LA, Cal State Long Beach, California Baptist University and Laney College. Furthermore, as a direct result of the Inyo-Mono Promise, nearly 20% of the graduating class is planning to continue on to the University of Nevada Reno in the fall.

Of those that graduated this May, more than half were supported by local scholarships provided by the Mammoth Lakes Foundation and the Eastern Sierra Foundation. Moreover, this year’s graduation commemorated a monumental benchmark for the Eastern Sierra Foundation: as of this semester, the total number of scholarships awarded to local students has surpassed one thousand. It is truly an astounding program and evidence of just how singular our community is. As ESF President Jeff Griffiths stated at the ceremony, “This is the only place in the state of California in which any student that wants to pursue higher education can—regardless of their ability to pay.”

Indeed, for over 20 years the Eastern Sierra Foundation (ESF) has been serving potential and current students in Inyo County. Founded with the intention of building the Eastern Sierra College Center, ESF has evolved to pursue and continuously realize its current and exclusive goal: providing full-tuition scholarships for Inyo County residents who wish to pursue a college education. As ESF congratulates the class of 2015 and the achievements of its scholarship recipients, the executive board looks forward to celebrating the next 1000 students who will walk up on stage to accept their diplomas.

Prospective students may obtain scholarship applications at the Bishop campus in the Admissions and Records Office or at the Counseling Office. The Scholarship covers all course enrollment fees and up to a maximum of $300 for required text book fees. Applicants must be full-time (enrolled in 12 or more credits) and attend the Bishop Campus of Cerro Coso Community College.

ESF and its scholarships are completely volunteer supported and 100% donation-funded. All contributions go to support scholarships available to any California resident who resides in Inyo County. Anyone wishing to make a donation can make their check payable to the “Eastern Sierra Foundation”, and note “Scholarships” on the memo line. Checks can be delivered to any member the Eastern Sierra Foundation Board, or checks can be delivered c/o Rick Litman, 3792 Ranch Road, Bishop, CA 93514 Bishop, California.

Please contact Jeff Griffiths, ESF President at 760 937-0072 for more information.