Connell Persico to Donate $1 Million Endowment to Alliant Educational Foundation

Scholarship in His Name Provides Support to LGBTQ Students Focusing on Underserved Communities in Perpetuity

The holiday giving season has started early for Alliant Educational Foundation (AEF), which already this year has awarded $1.75 million in scholarship support for students in need. A total of 800 scholarships have been awarded by the San Diego-based nonprofit foundation for this school year, providing financial aid for disadvantaged students throughout California striving toward public service and community leadership careers.

From Left To Right: Jonathan Chua, Jeannette Bergfeld, Anja Bircher, Connell Persico, Antoine Crosby, Mimi Hoang, Shawn Giammattei

Today, AEF has announced a $1 million gift from retired Alliant International University administrator and professor Connell F. Persico for an endowed scholarship program to provide, in perpetuity, much-needed financial support to students focusing on underserved LGBTQ communities.

“With his generous gift and visionary spirit, Dr. Persico has created a lasting legacy for Alliant,” said AEF CEO Valin Brown. “This gift adds to the impact of the existing Connell Persico Scholarship, which shares Alliant Educational Foundation’s goals of boosting diversity, equity and inclusion.” According to Brown, scholarship funding programs such as the Connell Persico Scholarship have a tremendous impact on students as they move beyond the classroom into the community at large.

Ruthie Inacay, the most recent Connell Persico Scholarship recipient, is just one of the exceptional Alliant International University students helping in underserved communities. The Lemon Grove resident is pursuing a doctorate degree in Marriage and Family Therapy as well as a certificate in LGBTQ mental health. Inacay is also involved in campus activities, including organizing a panel discussion on transgender military service and taking on leadership and mentoring roles with the Pride@Alliant organization.

Antoine Crosby also received a Connell Persico Scholarship. Currently a full-time pre-doctoral intern at Howard University, Crosby helps clients who identify as members of the LGBTQ community navigate their gender and sexual orientation identity at a historically black college and university.  

“The scholarship has allowed me to continue my contributions to the LGBT and sexual minority community in research, clinical and outreach capacities,” said Crosby, who earlier this year served as a counselor for a federally funded project to help inform agencies of effective practices when working with youth living with HIV/AIDS.

Persico, 74, now retired from Alliant International University – after 35 years at Alliant and its precursor, the California School of Professional Psychology – and residing in the Sacramento area, said that this endowed LGBTQ scholarship will continue to help students pursuing careers of service at the graduate level know they can do so with strong financial backing. He added, “They can focus on honing their skills and advancing their knowledge instead of worrying about how to pay off debt for the rest of their lives.”

And, he said, they have a huge job in front of them considering that suicide rates among LGBTQ youth continue to swell; verbal and physical abuse and assault remain a part of their lives; and seeking spirituality in a religiously hostile environment remains difficult.

“Current scholars are making dents in these walls,” Persico noted. “I encourage others to donate to this fund as well; as over time, as the cadre grows, scholarship recipients will become an identifiable force for change.”

Persico is just one of the many ongoing supporters of the AEF. Since its launch in 2015, donations to AEF have helped more than 2,400 students across California pursue advanced professional practice degrees in a wide range of professions.   

For more information about supporting Alliant Educational Foundation for long-term estate or financial plans, visit