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November 29, 2023

Cabrillo scholarship created in memory of plane crash victim

APTOS–The family of Stuart Camenson, who died in a plane collision at Watsonville Municipal Airport on Aug. 18, has created a permanent endowed scholarship for Cabrillo College students in his honor.

The Stuart Camenson Memorial Endowed Scholarship aims to support those studying within Cabrillo’s Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) department, where Camenson was deeply involved. In his time at Cabrillo, Camenson took classes in studio and performing arts, becoming close with many students and instructors. 

“It was important for me to do this,” said Stuart’s mother, Lori Camenson, “for Cabrillo, for myself and for Stuart. He loved the school so much and they returned that love in education tenfold. I just want to keep that going at Cabrillo and help someone who wants to continue their personal growth and education.”

VAPA instructors, staff and students helped organize a Celebration of Life for Camenson on Oct. 16, which was held at Cabrillo’s Aptos campus. They also set up a memorial display at VAPA with photos, pieces of Camenson’s art and notes of sympathy.

The Camenson family then approached Cabrillo College Foundation executive director Eileen Hill to help in the creation of the scholarship, which will be given to students annually, in perpetuity. While the exact amount has not been set, Lori Camenson said that the family plans to match up to $8,000 in donations. All donations of $100 or more will automatically be matched.

“We’ll set the amount when we learn how much we’ve gathered,” she said.

There are a number of different ways to send tax deductible donations to the Stuart Camenson Memorial Scholarship. Donate online (enter “Stuart Camenson Scholarship” in the special instructions/notes section); send checks payable to the Cabrillo College Foundation (enter “Stuart Camenson Scholarship” in the memo); or pay by credit card by calling the office at 831.479.6338.

Stock transfers, donor advised funds, and IRA charitable rollovers are also available. Contact the foundation for information. 

Lori Camenson expressed her appreciation for the college’s support since Stuart’s death.

“Part of our hearts will always be in the Cabrillo [and] Santa Cruz area,” she said, “as that is where Stuart called home, and where we found so many caring, compassionate individuals. I would like members of that community to know how important they are to us.”

Johanna Miller
Johanna Miller
Reporter Johanna Miller grew up in Watsonville, attending local public schools and Cabrillo College before transferring to Pacific University Oregon to study Literature. She covers arts and culture, business, nonprofits and agriculture.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Stuart , you are missed by our community college. I am pleased that the Cabrillo Foundation for making this scholarship possible. Thank you, Eileen Hill. Your memory will live on, Stuart.
    As a trustee for our community college, I know it is important for us to acknowledge and recognize those in our community who have been taken from us.

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