Bridges scholarship honors husband

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Brian Jennings

One student each from Gross­mont and Cuyamaca colleges was awarded a $500 scholarship on Jan. 11 to continue their studies in political science. The scholarships were drawn from a fund established in memory of Brian Jennings, a professor in the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Com­munity College District.

His wife Nancy Jennings, a Cuyamaca college professor, said the Building Bridges scholarship was named as such because her husband was passionate about bridging the gap between politi­cal parties in the United States and executed that vision on a personal level by working to bring Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges closer together as a pro­fessor at both local schools.

“The scholarship is set up so a student from each school can benefit. Two campuses came to­gether and will continue to come together in perpetuity. That rarely happens,” Jennings said.

Jennings said a goal of $25,000 was established — and met — to create the initial scholarship fund. That $25,000 mark is the point at which interest earned on the funds will pay for the scholarship itself.

As the scholarship regener­ates each year, it guarantees that the $500 can be awarded to two students in perpetuity.

2020 scholarship winners

“It’s really a nice way to re­member someone: to give to oth­er people,” Jennings said.

She said her husband was the sort of professor who inspired students to pursue their dreams, and describes one of the first ap­plicants for the scholarship.

“The student is a member of the LGBTQ community and has firsthand experience with undocumented immigrants. He decided on his path after taking Brian’s class and is now a poli-sci major at UC Berkeley,” Jen­nings said.

She went on to describe anoth­er standout applicant: a young student who had been told by her family that she didn’t have what it takes to become a law­yer. That student decided to lis­ ten to her professor, Jennings said, and pursue her passion… she now attends Berkeley law school.

Jennings said that her hus­band was a passionate teacher with a motto of ‘one life, live it’ who embraced adventure and was an advanced hiker, frequent backpack camper, and long-range bicyclist.

In April 2018 he was com­muting home from work by bike and was fatally hit by a driver who fell asleep at the wheel of a car.

His wife says she has only two requests for people. First, she asks that everyone make choices to help keep cyclists safe on the road. Second, she asks that peo­ple follow Brian’s lifelong advice and live life everyday as much as possible.

“If there is something you re­ally want to do, do it! Don’t put off joy or adventure,” Jennings said.