Cesar E. Chavez Graduate Scholarship


Cesar E. Chavez Graduate

In 2004, a group of Dr. Andrea Herrera’s students in her Introduction to Social Justice Studies class requested permission to establish a scholarship competition that would focus on undergraduate research and critical writing, and thereby distinguish the Rosa Parks Undergraduate Scholarship Competition, which would from that time forward exclusively feature creative work. With Dr. Herrera’s encouragement, these students consequently secured permission to use the official logo of the Cesar E. Chavez Foundation, and thereby honor the civil rights activist. As a result of these dedicated students’ efforts, the first Cesar E. Chavez Scholarship undergraduate competition was held in the spring of 2005.

In the spring of 2019, Professor Herrera—in collaboration with Dr. Tom Christensen, Provost of Academic Affairs, and Professor Kelli Klebe, Dean of Graduate Studies, proposed to establish a Cesar E. Chavez Graduate Scholarship, which will be awarded for the first time in the spring of 2020.

Cesar E. Chavez (1927-1993) was a farm worker who established himself during the Civil Rights Movement as a labor leader and civil rights activist.  Chavez co-founded the National Farm Workers Association (later rebranded the United Farm Workers union, UFW) in 1962 with Dolores Huerta. His approach to unionism and nonviolent tactics made the farm workers' struggle a moral cause that spread nationwide. By the late 1970s, Chavez and Huerta’s activism pressured growers to recognize the UFW as the bargaining agent for 50,000 field workers in California and Florida. Cesar Chavez received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994.