A biweekly publication for faculty and staff

Local Businesswoman Donates to Shape Student Leaders

April 22, 2013

Margo Souza, former president and CEO of Turlock’s Circle H Dairy Ranch Inc., has pledged $1 million to UC Merced to establish The Margo F. Souza Leadership Center — a multi-faceted leadership program — housed within the campus’s Office of Student Life.

Souza, an alumna of Seattle University, said graduating from college enriched her life immensely. Her passion for leadership and desire to help youth led her to donate to the newest UC campus. She believes the leadership center will be the catalyst to guide students — more than 60 percent who are the first in their families to earn a college degree — to become strong leaders and contributing members of society.

“We need to reinvent our future through the eyes of our youth,” said Souza. “Over time, this university will enhance and change many lives in the Central Valley.”

The leadership center will encompass a wide range of campus leadership initiatives, including the Margo Souza Entrepreneur-in-Training Track, and the Mentorship and Celebration Lunch.

Programming will include conferences to foster the entrepreneurial spirit that is already embedded in the campus culture, including the Bobcat Leadership Series, the You See Leaders high school leadership program, the campus’s annual Student Leadership Conference and the annual Leadership Awards Banquet.

“Ms. Souza’s generous gift epitomizes her commitment to supporting and empowering students to become the next generation of leaders,” Chancellor Dorothy Leland said. “Serving as a business owner for nearly 30 years in a male-dominated industry, she exemplifies the true qualities of a leader. Her vision to help students discover and hone their entrepreneurial spirit will be carried out through this important center.”