Del Mar resident Scott MacDonald endows USD scholarship program focused on compassionate service

Scott MacDonald

The University of San Diego recently announced that Del Mar resident Scott MacDonald donated $400,000 to endow the Scott MacDonald Community Scholarship Program at the Karen and Tom Mulvaney Center for Community Awareness and Social Action (CASA) at the University of San Diego.

The Scott MacDonald Community Scholarship Program will launch in the fall semester of the 2017-2018 academic year with four first-year students, each receiving $5,000 every year for four years. In exchange, the students will participate in the CASA leadership program and volunteer 280 hours of community service annually. Each year, a new cohort of four MacDonald Community Scholars will join the program their freshman year.

“Years ago, I was able to work my way through Indiana University,” said MacDonald. “I worked in a factory and would also work through my vacations. Eventually, I graduated from college with very little debt. Today, students from backgrounds similar to mine would have a very difficult time working their way through college the way I did without a great deal of support.”

“Mr. MacDonald’s generous gift will provide students with critically-needed financial support as they pursue their educational goals while engaging in reciprocal community-based learning in partnership with the community, and making life-long commitments to promote social change and justice,” said Chris Nayve, associate provost, Community Engagement and Director of CASA.

The USD MacDonald Community Scholars program is not the first community scholarship program MacDonald has launched. In fact, consistent with his vision that all students should be able to obtain a college education, MacDonald launched similar programs at Davidson College, the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (UNC), Indiana University, Bloomington, and the University of Michigan.

MacDonald spent four decades in the real estate industry and went on to become the CEO, president or chairman of four different companies, including Investa Property Group, one of Australia’s largest and most recognized commercial real estate companies, with $9 billion in assets at its peak. He is now retired and living in San Diego County.

“Our scholarship program is one that other donors can easily replicate at their favorite university,” said MacDonald. “We should all challenge ourselves to give back and pay it forward.”