Rita Olsen Pister Endowed Scholarship


This endowment was named for Rita Olsen Pister, a longtime Women’s Club member and wife of Chancellor Emeritus Karl S. Pister whose tenure ran from 1991 to 1996.

Rita took her role as Associate to the Chancellor seriously as she forged effective town-gown relations. Along with Ann Levin and the vice chancellor’s wife Eileen Tanner, Rita’s monthly “Discover UCSC” program invited women from the community for tea, a campus tour, and a lecture from a faculty member. She was instrumental in organizing an art auction fundraiser in her role with the UCSC Women’s Club.

Rita graduated from Holy Names College, completed a teaching credential at UC Berkeley, and taught for a time. She began married life with Karl in 1950. While their six children were young Rita’s primary responsibilities were caring for her family and supporting her husband in his career. When her youngest child was a teenager, Rita became the principal of their Catholic parish high school. Rita’s graciousness, generosity and commitment to education are reflected in the UC Santa Cruz Women’s Club naming its scholarship endowment the Rita Olsen Pister Endowed Scholarship for Re-entry Students.

Rita touched many lives. Two of her dear friends are remembered through named scholarships that come from the Rita Olsen Pister Endowment. Robert Leet-Corday, a Santa Cruz businessman with an interest in art, honored Rita with a significant donation to the endowment upon his death. Frances Spodick Drake was a career woman, an author in the field of human resources and industrial psychology, a strong supporter of women and education, and a devoted member of the club. Rita passed away in 2011, but her spirit continues in the lives of those she inspired and the students who benefit from her generosity.

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