Graduate from Imperial Valley earns Scholar Award


Scott Hargrove

Hardrick is one of 23 students from California State Universities to receive this award. He also graduated from SDSU’s Imperial Valley campus.

by Adam Correa, Staff Writer

Lawson Hardrick III, born and raised in San Diego, recently won the Trustee Emeritus Murray L. Galinson Scholar Award. This award was given to him by the Cal State University (CSU) Board of Trustees. The CSU Board of Trustees gave out awards to 23 other students from different CSU schools. Hardrick is the only graduate student from the San Diego State Imperial Valley campus to win this achievement. 

Hardrick – who is 25 years old – said he identifies as Black, Latinx and queer. He grew up in an economically depressed area of the country.

In spring 2021, he graduated from SDSU Imperial Valley with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Public Administration. In a Zoom interview, Hardrick was able to talk about the person he looks up to, his first reaction to receiving the award and how he wants to inspire others.

Hardrick said he looks up to Director of the SDSU Institute for Ethics and Public Affairs in Imperial Valley, Mark Wheeler. 

“He [Wheeler] always wanted me to stay in different spaces within my community because he does the same thing,” Hardrick said. “If he is unemployed at school that doesn’t mean that he can’t be at different places as well.”

Hardrick said he got inspired by Wheeler’s thought process and started to branch out into different spaces within the community. Now, he works with incoming SDSU freshmen and inspires them to push themselves outside their comfort zones.

“I can only imagine that they [the freshmen] didn’t get the experience that they wanted in high school when they graduated this past year,” he said. “Now they are at the university which is an outstanding achievement, and I didn’t even get into the university when I was a freshman right out of high school.”

When Hardrick got the announcement on Monday, Sept. 13 that he won, he said he felt like he received a spam email or fake call.

 “It just didn’t feel real,” Hardrick said. “I never received something that prestigious before in terms of recognition.”

Hardrick’s Galinson Scholar award came with an $8,000 scholarship from the Weingart Foundation, Leichtag Foundation, First Dental Health Co., Galinson Foundation and the Jewish Funders Network.

This fall, Hardrick was admitted to a graduate program on the main SDSU campus called the Postsecondary Educational Leadership with a Specialization in Student Affairs (PELSA) graduate program. This program helps new students become emotionally intelligent, compassionate and transformational leaders.

Now that Hardrick is in the PELSA program, he said he feels great to be a part of student services because he remembers being the one receiving help. 

As a student of color, Hardrick had to do research to find opportunities where he could receive some financial help because he knew earning an education would be expensive. For him, pursuing higher education wouldn’t have been possible without financial aid.

Hardrick said he looks towards a long-term job and is excited to start working in financial services.

“Financial aid is the difference between you being able to pay for school and not,” he said. “I feel that is a very powerful space to have knowledge in to be able to encourage students to be able to pursue higher education.”