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San Diego
Tuesday, May 28, 2024


Padres Expand Ritchey Scholarship Program

The San Diego Padres, in partnership with the Masons of California, expanded the Johnny Ritchey Scholarship Program on what would have been Ritchey’s 100th birthday. The program allows deserving, and often underserved, high school seniors in San Diego County to have a better chance at attending college.

To honor the spirit of Ritchey and his role as the “Jackie Robinson of the West Coast,” the two organizations, along with Reality Changers of San Diego, have teamed up to expand the program to up to ten $10,000 scholarships designed for students that have encountered and, more importantly, have overcome significant personal adversities – and used these challenges to strengthen themselves in their pursuit of higher education.

“The Padres and the Padres Foundation are excited to celebrate Johnny Ritchey and the Padres ‘barrier-breaking’ legacy in such an impactful way,” said Tom Seidler, Padres Sr. Vice President of Community & Military Affairs. “We are proud to play an important role in helping first-generation students, through the Johnny Ritchey Scholarship, realize their dream of a college education.  We thank Reality Changers and the Masons of California for coming together as part of this creative partnership to help local students.”

“Honoring the achievements of Johnny Ritchey by rewarding young people who have demonstrated grit, determination and courage is what this scholarship is all about,” said Doug Ismail, president of the California Masonic Foundation.

“Thank you to the Padres and the Masons for believing in the work we do at Reality Changers,” said Tamara Craver, president and CEO of Reality Changers. “We are honored to have been selected to identify first generation students that will follow in the footsteps of the great Johnny Ritchey by overcoming barriers for equal access to higher educations.”

Ritchey broke the Pacific Coast League’s color barrier in 1948 while playing for the San Diego Padres. His debut came just one year after Jackie Robinson broke the major league color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Ritchey played for the Padres as a catcher in 1948 and 1949.


Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro announced last week that a future Pathfinder-class oceanographic survey ship will be named USNS Robert Ballard (T-AGS 67). Dr. Robert Ballard, a San Diego native, is widely known as a discoverer of the final resting place of the R.M.S. Titanic.

“I am humbled to have the U.S. Navy’s oceanographic ship, USNS Robert Ballard as a namesake,” said Dr. Ballard. “As a 17-year-old, in 1959, I went on my very first oceanographic cruise, and very early in my oceanographic career, the U.S. Navy placed a central role and continues to do so to this day.”

“It is indeed an honor to know that the USNS Robert Ballard will continue to explore the oceans long after I am gone,” added Dr. Ballard, who also founded the distance learning program the JASON Project, which reached 12 million school children; and the Institute for Exploration in Mystic, Connecticut, and is also the founder and president of the Ocean Exploration Trust.


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