Penn State Law Student Endorses Sanchez-Crynes Visionary Legacy Scholarship
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pennsylvania – Current Penn State law student Victoria Crynes and her family have established the Sanchez-Crynes Visionary Legacy Doted Scholarship at Penn State Law. The endowment will benefit first-generation law students in their second or third year of law school who have an interest in corporate law, who are members of the Latinx Law Student Association, and who are committed to serving the Hispanic community.
Crynes, a third-year first-generation Hispanic law student at Penn State Law, said, “The scholarship is for first-generation students who often face tremendous challenges getting to law school, paying their studies and even understand the path to becoming a lawyer”.
The average law student has $165,000 in student debt. The mission of the Sanchez-Crynes Visionary Legacy Endowed Scholarship is to achieve equity and representation for Hispanic and underrepresented communities in the legal profession by helping to make a law degree more financially accessible.
Hispanics, the fastest growing population in the United States, make up just 5% of the country’s 1.3 million lawyers – although the Hispanic American population is 62.1 million according to the data. of the 2021 U.S. Census.
Crynes wants this endowment to take a step forward to close that gap. “Ideally, the legal profession should reflect the diversity of American citizens – the communities it is meant to serve. Increasing the number of Hispanic lawyers is crucial to establishing a profession that reflects our diverse society, while creating a pipeline for more diverse judges,” she said.
The Sanchez-Crynes Visionary Legacy Endowed Scholarship Fund is named in honor of Crynes’ two grandfathers, Manuel T. Sanchez and Dr. Billy Crynes, who both dedicated their lives to student empowerment from communities that have historically been underrepresented in higher education.
Sanchez, Crynes’ maternal grandfather, volunteered for more than 40 years to help countless high school students at Frederick A. Douglass High School in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma’s first historically African-American high school. He served student-athletes by helping them obtain athletic scholarships, volunteering as an assistant baseball coach, securing funds for equipment and uniforms, and establishing the Premier League of baseball in Oklahoma for undocumented Hispanic immigrants.
“He dedicated his life to those in need, continually inspiring others to give back to the community. He is a legend in the community known as Papa Sanchez to some and Coach Sanchez to others,” Crynes said.
Crynes credits his grandfather Sanchez for teaching him that you can always find a way to make a difference. “I was raised to see how I could help others. When you see a need, you meet the need. You’re never too young to give back to the community.
His paternal grandfather, Dr. Crynes, was a first-generation student and former dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Oklahoma. As Dean, he invested in the Multicultural Engineering program and advocated for expanding the staff and further developing the program in the early 2000s. The program grew into a premier engineering program that included more of 500 students from historically underrepresented communities and ranks among the top three U.S. engineering programs for diversity, with many graduates becoming successful leaders in their respective fields.
“The legacy of my grandfathers shows that providing students with comprehensive resources, mentorship and support systems creates leaders. Continuing their legacy, I aspire to empower first generation law students. is critical to the future success of our nation,” Crynes said.
Crynes is an example of the positive impact of diversity scholarships and pipeline programs. After her sophomore year of high school, her dream of becoming a lawyer emerged while attending the Hispanic National Bar Foundation’s Future Latin American Leaders Summer Law Institute. Almost a decade later, Crynes received a full scholarship to Penn State Law. With this funding, Crynes was able to devote her time to study and engagement on campus, which led her to connect with Penn State Law alumni.
Two of these relationships led to her applying and being selected as a Skadden Fellow, Arps 1L in the Wilmington, Delaware office. Skadden, a multinational law firm, offers the 1L Scholars program to diverse first-year law students to increase inclusiveness in law while providing scholars with top-notch career development opportunities. Last fall, Crynes was awarded the new Skadden 1L Scholars Scholarship. Crynes chose to donate his scholarship money to create the Sanchez-Crynes Visionary Legacy Endowed Scholarship.
“I realized the ability to impact Hispanic students for generations to come, just by committing my scholarship money to an endowment,” Crynes said. “The Penn State Law Full Scholarship and Skadden’s decision to invest in their 1L Summer Scholars has given me the financial empowerment to partner with Penn State Law to increase diversity in the legal profession.”
Retired Vice Admiral James W. Houck, acting dean of Penn State Law and the School of International Affairs, said, “It is inspiring to see current students like Victoria blaze new trails to improve educational opportunities for future Penn State Law students. We are proud to take another step in Penn State’s commitment to fostering a diverse and welcoming environment.
Crynes explained, “I hope fellows will be able to focus on their studies, serve as leaders in the law school community, and engage with the wider legal community due to the reduced financial burden of law school. . Most importantly, I want them to understand that the selection committee, the scholarship donors, and I believe that they are the catalyst for creating positive change for first-generation law students and for Hispanics within of the legal community and beyond.
Crynes believes that people can make a difference and together contribute to greater impact. “During Hispanic Heritage Month, I encourage you to invest in this endowment — knowing that you are making a difference,” she said. “Anyone can contribute to the community, whether it’s through financial donations, mentoring, volunteering to conduct mock interviews or reaching out to student organizations. There is no need to wait for the future when positive changes can start now. To those who give money or time in the lives of students, thank you.
With the record-breaking success of “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” which raised $2.2 billion from 2016-2022, philanthropy helps maintain the University’s tradition of education, research, and service to communities across the Commonwealth and around the world. . Scholarships enable our institution to open doors and welcome students from all walks of life, support for transformative experiences enables our students and faculty to realize their vast leadership potential, and donations toward discovery and excellence help us serve and influence the world we share. To learn more about the impact of donations and the continued need for support, please visit increase.psu.edu.
If you would like to support this fund with a donation, please use this direct donation link.