Berkeley, CA. – Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas recently awarded the first University of California Berkeley Isiah Thomas Scholarship to Cedric Jones, an Architecture student and the director of the Black Recruitment and Retention Center.
“Along with excelling at his work at Berkeley, Cedric Jones has shown a commitment to improving his community and having an impact on the next generation of talented students,” Thomas said.
During the fall, Jones and other African American students take a week off school to visit more than 100 schools in southern California where they conduct outreach presentations at middle schools, high schools, and community colleges. For the last four years, Jones has dedicated his time to the Black Recruitment & Retention Center as an Intern, Academic Retention Coordinator and is currently in his second term as Executive Director.
A native of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Jones is the youngest of three children growing up within a low-income household in Hayward, CA. Through the support of community members and family both he and his sisters were given the opportunity to attend UC Berkeley. As a Landscape Architecture candidate Cedric’s dream is to create his own design firm catering to urban development within inner cities, specifying on revitalization of historic ethnic communities (i.e. Temescal of Oakland, Hunter’s Point of SF) and restoring them to capacities of their nostalgic primes. He also wants to be a professor of City & Regional Planning and educate students on the intersections between planning, gentrification and the loss of minority input in city development so that all can apply this knowledge in their respective fields to better the conditions of African Americans.
The California Heritage Fund and the African American Studies Department of UC Berkeley will administer the Isiah Thomas Scholarship. The scholarship will be given each year for 10 years to the student who holds the position of Director of the Black Recruitment and Retention Center (BRRC), a student-run organization that helps African American students with issues they may face before or after they come to Berkeley. The scholarship will enable its recipient to focus on the important work of the BRRC and their graduation as they prepare for graduate school or their chosen career.
The annual scholarship is named for former NBA star Isiah Thomas, who received his Masters of Education from Berkley in May 2013. In addition to the UC Berkeley scholarship program, Thomas provides a scholarship for undergraduate criminal justice students at his alma mater, Indiana University.