Delphine Newman Finds That Scholarships Are the Gift That Keeps on Giving

Delphine Newman with recent scholarship recipient Patrick CarterDelphine Newman with recent scholarship recipient Patrick Carter.

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As vaudeville and low-wire performers in the 1920s, Delphine Newman’s parents performed in England, New Zealand, Australia and the South Pacific. Her father’s career began with the Ringling Brothers in Wisconsin and went on to span the globe. 

Unlike her parents, Newman does not use a stage to make an impact.  She does it on a daily basis with her caring, supportive and dedicated involvement with SSU where her impact is felt much closer to home and no less powerfully.

Today, she supports three endowed scholarships and her enthusiasm for them has inspired others to do the same. It is not uncommon to watch her lift out a letter from her purse from one of her scholarship recipients and share the latest news of their lives. One student last year even invited her to her wedding.

“Her modesty and unassuming personality along with her dedication to education and the arts may lend itself to this kind of response not only from her scholarship recipients, but from the campus and local community members as well,” says Laurie Ogg, director of the scholarship program. “I have always found it deeply satisfying to know that I have helped students succeed at college,” she says. “It is a good feeling to know that you are making a difference.”

Newman studied communications and business at UC Berkeley, but prefers the kind of impact she can have on students’ lives at a small campus like SSU. She created her first scholarship in Communications in 1988 as a member of the President’s Associates under then-President David Benson. She has created two more since then, one in Environmental Studies and another in Global. All show her passion for connections between people and bettering the world. 

Studying Communications “develops a person’s ability to reason and communicate while paying attention to ethics,” she says. Environmental Studies are “important to maintaining the quality of our natural environment.”  Her most recently initiated scholarship in Global Studies is also a natural fit with her interests.

Newman continues to this day to be very active as a member of SSU’s Academic Foundation Board, most recently assisting with the important role of preparation of audit information for the scholarship program. A member of the Santa Rosa Symphony League, she helped develop its music docent program for children in kindergarten through third grade.


She also funds an annual scholarship to SSU’s Greenfarm, a summertime music study program for school-age children. She has also received a merit award for cultural enhancement from the City of Santa Rosa and was named a person of distinction by the city of Rohnert Park.

Retired Vice President of Development Jim Meyer, who worked with Newman for the years he served the campus in developing the scholarship program, says her very dedication to scholarship recipients has inspired others to establish their own endowments. “She has been extremely loyal to the University and we appreciate her so much,” Meyer says.

Each year, the Sonoma State Scholarship Office receives 500-700 applications and awards about 250 scholarships thanks to the longstanding, heartfelt support of people like Newman.