Donor Provides CSUN Art Students with Ongoing Scholarships

Dean Dan Hosken (left), Virginia Orndorff(left-center), Chris Orndorff (center). Oliver Mayhall, first place winner of the $5,000 scholarship. Stacey Alexander (far right), is the third place winner of $1,000. Second place winner, Michael Castaneda, (not pictured) received a $2,000 scholarship.

Dean Dan Hosken (left), Virginia Orndorff (left-center) and Chris Orndorff (center) presented the first round of scholarship winners with their awards at this year’s Annual Juried Student Art Exhibition. Oliver Mayhall (second to the left), was the first place winner of the $5,000 scholarship. Stacey Alexander (far right), is the third place winner of $1,000. Second place winner, Michael Castaneda, (not pictured) received a $2,000 scholarship.

To honor California State University, Northridge alumna Virginia Orndorff and her passion of the arts, her husband Chris Orndorff donated $218,000 to create an endowment for art student scholarships.

The Virginia A. Orndorff Prize for scholarships will support students for their exemplary efforts in all forms of visual arts. The prize will be based on students’ performance in the Annual Juried Student Art Exhibition, held each spring in the Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication‘s Art Gallery.

Chris and Virginia Orndorff said they were happy to provide CSUN students with an opportunity to further their passion for art and hope the scholarship prize will serve as encouragement.

“I am very proud to be a graduate of CSUN. I want to encourage young artists to follow their dreams,” said Virginia. “The time that I spend pursuing my art actually makes me more productive in other parts of my life. Photography energizes me, keeps me focused and allows me to see many different views, which is extremely helpful in many parts of my life.”

The scholarship prize will serve to benefit students for years to come. Undergraduate or graduate students are allowed to enter the Annual Juried Student Art Exhibition, with three prizes awarded: $5,000 for first place, $2,000 for second place and $1,000 for third place. Funds can be used toward each student’s cost of attendance at CSUN for the following year. Winners will be chosen by a jury in the CSUN Art Gallery.

“Virginia’s passion for art and pride as a CSUN graduate has resulted in a gift that will support and fuel similar passions in young artists for years to come,” said Dan Hosken, dean of the Mike Curb College. “Connecting successful alumni such as Virginia to our current students just starting to find their way in the world is one of the most powerful things that we can do at CSUN. We are incredibly grateful to Chris and Virginia for their generosity!”

Chris Orndorff donated the funds to honor his wife, Virginia, a business professional turned full-time photographic artist. She graduated from CSUN in 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in business and public relations. Although Virginia’s passion for the arts led her to work in photo editing and creating an art exhibit that was featured in The Los Angeles Times while in college, her career focus remained in business for over 15 years.

Chris Orndorff, who is CIO of Vulcan Capital, wanted to honor Virginia’s tenacity to succeed and willingness to stay true to her passions with the donation to the university.

“I attended a different university, but I always appreciated the opportunity that CSUN provides,” said Chris. “Virginia was the first person in her family to graduate from college, like many CSUN graduates. This annual scholarship award may be a positive catalyst for a student considering a career in visual arts to continue that journey.”

“The gift from Chris was such a wonderful surprise,” said Virginia. “This donation is our way of providing that encouragement to students interested in the arts.”

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