EastBay Today

Posted October 11, 2017

Fueling Student Success

Funds honoring Don Sawyer and Al Matthews will support student-athletes and kinesiology majors

Alumnus Rich Sherratt (left) has announced scholarships in honor of two Cal State East Bay athletics legends: Don Sawyer and Al Matthews. Sherratt encourages anyone who has been impacted by the former coaches to add to the funds.

Alumnus, honorary degree recipient, Pioneer Athletic Hall of Fame inductee and Educational Board Foundation Trustee Richard Sherratt (B.S. ’70, Recreation), alongside his wife, Susan, is increasing his existing support of student success through two new scholarships. In addition to the Richard and Susan Sherratt Intercollegiate Athletics Scholarship Endowment, which launched in 2009, the Sherratts are now offering two more ways for student-athletes to obtain the financial resources they need to complete their degrees.

Inspired by two leaders at Cal State East Bay — Al Mathews, who coached and taught Sherratt during his time as a student-athlete, and Don Sawyer, whose legacy at the university spans 50 years — the most recent of Sherratt’s scholarships have been crafted in partnership with the emeritus professors and coaches, enabling them to guide the criteria for their namesake gifts.

“I felt it was time to honor some people who have had an impact on the university,” Sherratt says. “And Dr. Sawyer and Dr. Mathews have both had a major impact not only on the university, but on so many students whose lives they’ve touched. From my standpoint it was important to acknowledge them and their importance to Cal State East Bay.”

“I felt it was time to honor some people who have had an impact on the university.”

For Mathews, founder of the university’s baseball team and athletic director from 1972-92, the Alfred “Al” R. Mathews Scholarship in Baseball will be given to baseball players who demonstrate financial need, maintain a 3.0 GPA and who write a short essay explaining how the funding will impact their education.  

For Sawyer, who is also an alumnus, former Pioneer football player and has held a wide range of leadership positions across the university, the Donald T. Sawyer Scholarship in Athletics will be available to student-athletes who are majoring in kinesiology, and who are in good academic standing, also with a minimum GPA of 3.0.

Beyond honoring Sawyer and Mathews, Sherratt says supporting student-athletes encourages them to develop skill sets such as teamwork, perseverance and sportsmanship that can increase their success in other areas of life and business. And, he explained, for anyone considering making a gift of their own to Cal State East Bay, there is no better time than now:

“I hope this encourages people to remember Don and Al, and if their lives have been impacted by them, to add their own contributions to these scholarships — or do something else for Cal State East Bay students that is personally meaningful,” Sherratt says. “But give something back. It doesn’t necessarily have to be financial. There are a lot of students here, first-generation students, who are pulling themselves up similar to what I and others have done. I thoroughly believe education is the only way this world survives, and we need to provide education as an opportunity to prepare people for the workforce today. There’s no better place for that to happen than Cal State East Bay — we are a critical resource for the entire region.”

Richard Sherratt is a civic and business leader who has made numerous contributions to his community and the region, in addition to his continued support of Cal State East Bay. Sherratt served on the Alameda City Council from 1975-83, which included a term as vice mayor. He has founded more than a dozen companies over the course of his career, notably Alameda-based Ballena Technologies, a 3D entertainment venue visualization company, and ERTEC Environmental Systems, which manufacturers erosion, sediment and wildlife control systems. Sherratt has always maintained a connection with athletics and youth enrichment through coaching positions and work with the Alameda Boys & Girls Club. Today, he adds his insight and expertise to numerous boards and charities. He has served as a trustee for the Cal State East Bay Educational Foundation since 2002.

RISING IN THE EAST: THE CAMPAIGN FOR CAL STATE EAST BAY is underway, and we’re working hard toward our goal of raising $60 million in honor of the university’s 60th anniversary. To date, we have marked 38.7 million in support of initiatives such as student scholarships, faculty excellence and capital improvements. To learn more about our campaign and its priorities, including how you can give, visit the Rising in the East website.