City of San Diego Employee Nicole McNeil Receives National University Scholarship in Recognition of her Community Service

November 10, 2015

San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer and National University President Dr. Michael R. Cunningham honor McNeil at Council Chambers; The University is the City of San Diego's Preferred Employee Education Program Partner

 San Diego, Calif. – Nov. 10, 2015 – City of San Diego employee Nicole McNeil, who has demonstrated her commitment to public service as a pool manager in the City Heights community, is the recipient of the City of San Diego/National University Professional Development Scholarship. The scholarship will allow McNeil to complete her studies at National University, and is the result of a partnership in which National University – the second-largest, private, nonprofit university in California – is the City’s designated Preferred Employee Education Program Partner.

McNeil was among 50 San Diego city workers who applied for the scholarship. She, along with three finalists, were recognized at the start of the Nov. 10 San Diego City Council meeting with the participation of San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer and National University President Dr. Michael R. Cunningham.

“We are so pleased to be able to recognize scholarship winner Nicole McNeil who represents the great work City employees are doing on behalf of San Diego,” said Dr. Michael R. Cunningham, President of National University. “Providing quality educational opportunities to working adults is a big part of our mission, and we want to celebrate today the dedication of City employees like Nicole who are striving to better themselves while improving our communities.”

National University last year was named the City of San Diego’s Preferred Employee Education Program Partner, with City employees being offered a 15 percent scholarship, a portion of which will be matched by tuition assistance – and the chance to qualify for the scholarship. The collaboration reflects National University’s commitment to developing educational partnerships with the communities it serves, including the public sector and other entities that serve the public good. In turn, it provides City of San Diego employees access to a quality education that ensures San Diego’s continued development as a place of opportunity and innovation.

McNeil and the three finalists were chosen by a panel of City of San Diego and National University representatives for their demonstrated commitment to public service and giving back to the San Diego community. McNeil is currently attending National University while working, and is on track to earn a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Integrated Marketing Communications in May of 2017. She works as a pool manager for the City of San Diego, and she works in City Heights, which is among the most culturally diverse communities in the country. Dozens of languages are spoken in the community, but everyone comes together at the City Heights Swim Center, and McNeill taught herself conversational Spanish to better communicate with those she serves in the heavily Latino community.

She has won accolades from the community and co-workers alike for her organizational skills and dedication to her job managing the popular public pool in the San Diego neighborhood of City Heights. She is the 2015 recipient of the prestigious Belinda Bencomo Award for Aquatics Excellence, and she is the only American Red Cross Lifeguarding Instructor Trainer in the City of San Diego and one of only two Red Cross Water Safety Instructor Trainers. The lead organizer of all large-scale aquatic events at the City Heights pool, McNeill collaborates with the San Diego Fire Department, Rady Children’s Hospital, and an array of community groups and nonprofit organizations on a regular basis.

“San Diego City employees are smart, hard-working and care deeply about the communities they serve. Nicole embodies all of those qualities and is extremely deserving of this honor,” said Mayor Faulconer. “As mayor, I’m proud that Nicole seized this educational opportunity and that National University will continue to help more City employees advance their careers.”

National University has long been an educational leader in California, and about 25 percent of San Diego Unified School District principals are National University alumni as are former San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, now President and CEO of the San Diego Chamber of Commerce; San Diego City Councilwoman Myrtle Cole; and San Diego City Councilwoman Marti Emerald.

About National University
Founded in 1971, National University is the second-largest private, nonprofit institution of higher education in California. With 30,000 students and more than 140,000 alumni, National University is the flagship institution of the National University System. National University is dedicated to making lifelong learning opportunities accessible, challenging, and relevant to a diverse population of students. Five schools and one college – the College of Letters and Sciences; the School of Business and Management; the School of Education; the School of Engineering and Computing; the School of Health and Human Services; and the School of Professional Studies – offer more than 100 graduate and undergraduate degrees and 23 teacher credentials. Programs are offered at locations throughout California and across the nation, and are also available online. National University is headquartered in La Jolla, California.

Media contact:
Anna Cearley
Director of Public Relations
858-642-8163
acearley@nu.edu