Associated Students/Dr. John Irwin Memorial Scholarship

Division of Student Life
The scholarship award ($1,500.00) will be disbursed during the Fall 2021 semester. To be eligible students must be enrolled at least half time (6 units) during the Fall semester 2021 when the awarded funds will be disbursed to the student’s account.

Dr. John Keith Irwin was a sociologist who earned his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Los Angeles and later completed his doctoral thesis at the University of California, Berkeley. He focused on his in-depth understanding of the statistics showing how education could greatly decrease recidivism in California and on the successful re-integration of formerly incarcerated individuals back into society. Dr. Irwin taught for many years in San Francisco State University’s Sociology Department, and in 1967 created Project Rebound, a special admissions program at SF State for the formerly incarcerated. In the early 1980s, Associated Students embraced this program and committed to funding it as an Associated Students program. Dr. Irwin’s life work was dedicated to the empowerment of individuals who had been negatively labeled and disenfranchised by the systemic use of political oppression in the form of incarceration, and this work is still going on with the help of SF State’s Associated Students.

As the author of many works centered on the issue of criminal justice in this country, Dr. Irwin was an intellect and humanitarian who never ceased to self-identify as a “convict” resulting from his years spent behind bars. Although Dr. John Irwin was able to leave the toils and tribulations of a life in prison, he never forgot the life lessons he learned or the individuals who taught him. Dr. Irwin passed in 2010 leaving behind a lifetime of accomplishments and an undeniable hope for the future. The scholarship in memory of Dr. John Keith Irwin shall assist individuals who have had dealings with the criminal justice system to redefine themselves using the right of higher education as their immediate means.

  • Awarding Department: Division of Student Life
  • Scholarship Intent: To provide assistance and support to the educational advancement of students by awarding money to eligible SF State students.
  • Criteria:
    1) Part time minimum enrollment at SF State or enrolled in at least half-time at another college or high school senior at the time of application.
    2) Applicants must include a detailed explanation of their academic achievement, supported by a letter of recommendation.
    3) Students must prove they were once on court mandated probation or parole, yet have transcended such monitoring and maintained good academic standing.
  • Major: Any
  • Class Level: HS Seniors, Undergrad: Any, Grad: Masters/MFA/Credential/2nd BA/PhD
  • Enrollment Status: Any
  • Enrollment Requirement: Undergrad: 6 UNITS; Grad: 4 UNITS
  • Financial Need as determined by the FAFSA and/or CA Dream App: Not a Requirement
  • Citizenship: Any
  • GPA: HS GPA: 2.5; Undergrad GPA: 2.5; Grad GPA: 2.5
  • Contact Person: Division of Student Life
  • Campus Address: SSB 403
  • Street Address: 1650 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, California 94132
  • Phone Number: (415) 338-3888
  • Email:
  • Web page:
  • Number of Awards: 2

Associated Students
Supplemental Questions
  1. Is your current cumulative GPA 2.5 or above?
  2. Will you be enrolled in 6 or more credit hours for Fall 2021?
  3. Short Answers:

    The questions below will provide the reviewers of your application with more information about your educational goals, career goals, community involvement, leadership roles, and what you hope to achieve in the future. Limit responses to a maximum of 300 words for each question.

    • Describe how this scholarship will contribute to your financial need and academic success? (Max 300 words)
    • How have you demonstrated leadership and a commitment to serving others through your campus involvement and/or community service? (Max 300 words)
    • Tell us about a time in your life when you overcame an inequity or advocated for social justice. (Max 300 words)
    • What are your educational goals and where do you see yourself 5 years after you graduate from college? (Max 300 words)
  4. Recommendation Letter:

    Please ask someone who knows you for (1) a letter of recommendation addressing your EDUCATIONAL GOALS, ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENTS, AND COMMUNITY SERVICE. Contact your recommendation letter provider early in your application process to give them time. They will need to upload their letter by February 21, 2021 using Academic Works. The recommendation letter must be 1 page in length, on an OFFICIAL LETTERHEAD, and SIGNED. Provide the NAME and EMAIL ADDRESS below:

  5. Submit a copy of an official document proving you were once on a court mandated probation or parole. (Document will be held in strict confidentiality and will not be reviewed by the selection committee)