With a bright smile on his face, CSUN student and 2022 Roy and Roxie Campanella Scholarship recipient Jake Kim expressed his gratitude and reflected on how incredibly far he had come.
During the 2022 Campanella Scholars virtual award ceremony on Feb. 5, Kim explained how different his life was only five short years ago. Born and raised in South Korea, in 2017 he decided to come to the United States as an international student.
Despite not being proficient in English when he arrived and having financial worries, Kim has worked hard to pursue his educational goals and is currently a member of the CSUN DPT (Doctor of Physical Therapy) program. For the spring semester, he had to pay his tuition using funds that were reserved for his living expenses.
This year, the Roy and Roxie Campanella Foundation, Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation and CSUN helped make a difference for this young scholar.
“When I got an email that I would become a recipient of this scholarship, I was so grateful and happy,” Kim said. “Thanks to this scholarship, I can concentrate on what is important right now. It has brought me one step closer to my goal and has inspired me to help others. I will never forget this moment.”
Kim was one of 10 recipients of the 2022 Campanella scholarship, along with Brian Andrews, Noah Eley, Ashley Park, Michael Kim, Huy Leoishi, Keita Yada, Mitch Neal, Justin Magundayao and Mahssa Tomarian. During the award ceremony, they all shared their passion for helping others, which was central to baseball legend Roy Campanella’s life.
For the past 12 years, the Campanella Foundation and the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation have teamed up to honor and grant financial assistance to CSUN physical therapy students who show the will to advance in the field — the same field that helped Campanella overcome amazing odds.
In 1948, Campanella became the first Black catcher in Major League Baseball, after being signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Baseball Hall of Famer won three MVP awards and helped lead the Dodgers to their first World Series title in 1955.
Tragically, his playing career came to an end in 1958 after he was paralyzed in a car accident. However, Campanella kept fighting and was able to have a better quality of life through physical therapy. His daughter, Joni Campanella Roan, previously stated that her father always credited his physical therapist as the person who helped him regain his will to live.
After his passing in 1993, Campanella’s wife, Roxie, created this scholarship in his memory, to push the next generation of physical therapists to reach new heights.
Before the 10 scholarship winners shared their heartfelt stories, Joni Campanella Roan reflected on the life her father lived and the impact he had, and continues to have, on so many people today.
“My parents would have been very proud to know each of you,” Roan said to the recipients. “It’s just a real honor for me to meet such a group of dedicated and driven students who have chosen a field where you can make a real difference in someone’s life by making it better.”