Written by Laurie McLaughlin.
Under the leadership of its 2013 president, Bridgette Castillo ’01, the Orange County Risk Insurance Management Society (OCRIMS) established a $30,000 endowment for the Mihaylo College Center for Insurance Studies (CIS), which will provide $1,000 annually for student scholarships.
This endowment is the most recent gift provided by the organization. For 15 years, OCRIMS has been associated with the center and has provided support for Mihaylo’s risk-management education.
“Funding an endowed scholarship for CIS was the next logical step in OCRIMS’ continuing efforts to advance the risk-management profession,” says Castillo, risk finance manager at St. Joseph Health System.
In the last 13 years, the group has donated more than $60,000 to CIS, which has provided scholarship assistance for about eight students each year – funds are partially raised by the organization’s annual golf tournament. Members of OCRIMS also serve as guest speakers on campus, and chief risk officer for the Orange County Transit Authority, Al Gorski, a former OCRIMS president and director on the RIMS’ national board, has taught the Principles of Insurance course at Mihaylo for more than 12 years.
“When I recall all of the activities OCRIMS has taken part in to support our center, I can’t express my gratitude enough,” says Weili Lu, director of CIS. “Their generous support, both financially and with time on campus, has made a significant difference to our students in the field of risk management.”
OCRIMS board members, adds Lu, have nurtured the growth of the student insurance club, Gamma Iota Sigma, by speaking at events, joining students in bowling tournaments and, recently, providing two-year society memberships to students, who may also attend the organization’s monthly lunches. “This greatly enhances the students’ ability to network professionally,” says Lu. “Board members have realized that this kind of relationship is critical for the education of the next generation of risk managers.”
The organization also endorsed the center’s application for the Spencer Foundation’s Loss Prevention Grant, which brought $50,000 to CIS. The recent $30,000 endowment will also provide for the development of risk-management coursework, general program support, and ultimately, development of a risk-management degree.
“Fifteen years ago, if you were to ask a business student what a risk manager does, they would just look at you blankly. But today, thanks in great part to the contributions of OCRIMS, many students are considering careers in risk management,” says Lu. “OCRIMS will have a permanent impact on our program with this endowed scholarship.”