The fund history really starts with the untimely passing of Chris Borton at a young age. Not long after the fund was founded by one of Chris’ best friends.
Christopher B. Borton was born in New York City on February 12, 1965 and died on June 14, 1996 after a brief but valiant battle against cancer. During his childhood he lived in New York, Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Los Baños (The Philippines), and Menlo Park (California), and he traveled on five continents.
Chris, a graduate of Davis High School, spent his academic career at the University of California at San Diego (Warren College graduate, class of 1988: German literature and computer science) and the University of Göttingen, Germany. He pursued graduate work at the University of Amsterdam and at the University of California at Berkeley.
Chris’ professional career included programming as an independent contractor and owner of “Magnetic Frisbees,” and part-time work at KPMG and the University of Amsterdam in The Netherlands. Chris was also a cofounder (1990) of Storm Technology, a pioneer company in the area of image processing and JPEG technology.
Chris’s good friend and fellow UCSD graduate Mike Scanlin proposed the idea of a memorial scholarship to Chris’ parents Ray and Verena shortly after Chris’ death.
Through the Education Abroad Program of UCSD, Chris spent a year at the University of Göttingen in Germany, an experience that profoundly influenced the direction of his life. Together with his childhood experiences of living in different cultures and later studies and travels abroad, it made him the world citizen he was.
Thus, in 1996, the Chris Borton Memorial Scholarship Fund was established to assist University of California San Diego students wishing to study abroad.
Brief Fund history
To date we have awarded 74 scholarships. Having started with just a single award in 1997, we were able to expand this to two awards in 1999, and expanding to three in 2001. In 2002 only two of the three awardees were able to take advantage of the scholarship, and 2003 presented the board with a field of candidates in which there was a near tie for third place. Consequently the board decided to make an exception and award four scholarships for 2003. Another situation with a virtual tie between 3 candidates resulted in an extra award in the 2006/2007 year as well. The 2008/2009 year resulted in three clear “winners.” As the fund’s endowment grew and the cost of studying abroad did as well, starting in 2013/2014 we have awarded four scholarships per year, and for 2016/2017 we awarded five scholarships (because of exceptionally worthy candidates and thanks to a growing endowment). The 2017/2018 year saw four awards, each for $7,000.
As of the 2019/2020 year we’ve expanded to granting five scholarships, $7,000 each. In this year, three scholarships were awarded to UCSD students, and two to UCD students.
Over the 21+ years of the fund history we have been able to send over 74 students abroad, to a selection of over 15 different countries, of which Japan, France and Germany have seen the highest numbers of student awardees.