Trevor Albertson Ph.D. (’09) had a history of “firsts” during his time at UC Merced.
Albertson was among the university’s earliest doctoral students, entering the then-World Cultures and History program in 2006 and earning his Ph.D. in political diplomatic history in 2009. He is also the first UC Merced graduate to be appointed to a three-year term on the UC Merced Board of Trustees.
Now, he and his wife, Katherine, have created the Albertson Family Fellowship Fund, making Albertson the first UC Merced alumnus to endow a fellowship.
Albertson credits his grandparents, who did not have the opportunity to attend college, as his inspiration for establishing the endowment.
“They would have appreciated something like this,” he said. “It is in their memory that this fellowship is truly created.”
The new fund will provide financial support to UC Merced graduate students focused on history within Interdisciplinary Humanities, the graduate program that replaced World Cultures and History.
“UC Merced was a wonderful experience,” Albertson said. “The campus was small, but the ideas were big.”
Albertson is particularly grateful for the support he received from within his graduate program at UC Merced and credits his advisor, Professor Gregg Herken, as well as former Professor Ruth Mostern and professors Robin DeLugan and Christopher Viney — the members of his dissertation committee — for helping foster his passion for research and scholarship.
“Gregg took his time in helping me develop into becoming a good scholar,” Albertson said.
He noted that his class cohort, under Herken’s guidance, saw a 100 percent success rate in the academic job market following completion of their doctoral degrees.
“It is a great program that is rising in the ranks,” he added.
Albertson’s commitment and belief in the promise of higher education continue to be evident in all aspects of his work. Besides his advisory role at UC Merced, he is currently the superintendent and president of Lassen Community College.
Before joining Lassen, he served in various roles at the Air University in Montgomery, Ala., and as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Air Force — a trajectory that began when he reported for the reserves in Omaha, Neb., just days after his graduation from UC Merced.
Albertson said he has a special admiration for the most recent cohort of UC Merced scholars, whose resiliency, determination and perseverance have been on display during the global pandemic.
“I have been very impressed by how graduate students have been able to grapple with and overcome the additional challenges of COVID-19 while continuing to earn their degrees,” he said. “They are some impressive folks.”
Albertson has been “honored to be part of UC Merced” — which has evolved from his time as a Ph.D. student to a distinguished alumnus to now a university trustee and philanthropic partner through his endowed fellowship. He and Katherine hope their spirit of giving back and supporting graduate scholars will encourage “others to go on and do great things; that they will help make California, the nation and the world — wherever they find themselves — a better place.”
“Trevor and Katherine’s commitment to UC Merced not only ensures that future generations of students have resources to pursue academic, research and teaching excellence,” UC Merced Vice Chancellor and Chief External Relations Officer E. Edward Klotzbier said, “their generosity in establishing the Albertson Family Fellowship will also inspire others to give back and support the university, its people and its programs.”
“While I am one of the first alumni to create a fellowship, I am hopefully not the last,” Albertson said.