Cal alum and former San Francisco Giants star Jeff Kent has established the Jeff Kent Women Driven Scholarship Endowment for his alma mater, the university announced Monday.
Kent’s donation of $531,000, plus $100,000 in matching funds, creates a fully endowed scholarship for one female student-athlete each year from soccer, softball, tennis track and field or cross country.
Kent will be recognized for his contribution during Cal’s home football game against Colorado on Saturday.
Originally a non-scholarship walkon at Cal, Kent has earmarked the endowed scholarship to preferably go to a non-recruited student-athlete with a minimum 2.8 grade-point average, an interest in community service or mentoring, and a financial need.
“Having the opportunity to get an education at Cal can make a profound difference in life. I know how much I benefited,” Kent said. “Everybody should have a shot, and this is my chance to ensure others have their shot.”
The scholarship has grown out of the Women Driven fund created by Kent and his wife, Dana, in partnership with the Giants in 1998. That program, which raised money for every RBI Kent delivered, raised more than $115,000 toward scholarships for female walkon athletes at Cal in its first year, eventually totaling more than $600,000.
“It’s not every day you get a phone call from a former Golden Bear and professional athlete who says he wants to endow an athletic scholarship, let alone for a male athlete to be such an outspoken champion of women’s athletics,” Cal interim athletic director Michael Williams said.
“Jeff’s dedication is truly remarkable,” added Phil Esten, Cal’s deputy director of athletics and external relations.