Assemblymember Susan Bonilla has been named the inaugural recipient of the "Policy Maker of the Year" award from the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities (AICCU).  Bonilla will be honored at Saint Mary’s College of California during the annual AICCU President’s Meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, October 18, 2012 in the College's Soda Center.

Bonilla was recognized by the AICCU for her dedication to providing access and opportunities in higher education to all students, including support of Cal Grant students attending California's nonprofit private colleges and universities.

Saint Mary’s president Brother Ronald Gallagher said the College, which is a member of the association of independent higher institutions, was honored to host the event to recognize the lawmaker from California's 11th district.

“Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla has been a unyielding champion of educational access for Cal Grant-eligible students at Saint Mary’s and other independent colleges across the state,” said Gallagher. “We are proud to join with the AICCU in honoring her efforts to ensure that academically qualified students with limited resources have opportunities to pursue higher education.”

Bonilla’s recognition by the AICCU follows her recent efforts to prevent cuts to Cal Grants in the state’s budget. Bonilla worked tirelessly with other legislators, their staff and AICCU to forge a compromise that minimized the budget cuts to Cal Grant students, including those attending California’s nonprofit independent institutions. As chair of the Assembly's Budget Sub-committee on Education Finance, Bonilla allowed every Cal Grant student who wanted to testify before the committee to voice their opinion on the important issue, including students from Saint Mary’s.

"Academically qualified, financially deserving California students at AICCU schools have Assemblymember Bonilla to thank for the preservation of the Cal Grant program," said AICCU's president Kristen Soares,

AICCU’s “Policy Maker of the Year Award” will be an annual award given to an individual who, more than any other, worked hard to assure that the contributions of California's nonprofit private sector are appreciated as part of the solution to challenges facing the state.  For more about the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities (AICCU), visit www.aiccu.edu.

Contact 

Michael McAlpin
Director of Media Relations
(925) 631-4222 office
(925) 878-9535 cell
mdm5@stmarys-ca.edu

About SMC 
The Saint Mary’s College of California experience inspires learning that lasts a lifetime. For nearly 150 years, the College has provided students with a rigorous education that engages their intellect and spirit, and awakens a desire to transform society. Guided by the Christian Brothers, the Catholic Church’s oldest order dedicated exclusively to teaching, the College enrolls more than 3,800 students in undergraduate and graduate liberal arts and business programs. For more information visit Saint Mary’s College at stmarys-ca.edu and just 23 miles east of San Francisco.
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