As a student-athlete on his way to Jimmy V’s Sports Café, Josh Childress would walk past the athletic scholarship display in the Arrillaga Family Sports Center and see his picture associated with the Arrillaga Family Scholarship Fund.
“I always told myself that if I were financially able to do so, I would pay that back by providing the opportunity for another student,” says Childress, who played basketball for Stanford from 2002 to 2004. “I grew up in the inner city, and my family would not have been able to afford my Stanford education without a scholarship.”
Now a veteran professional player, Childress delivered on his promise with a $250,000 gift, which established the first summer athletic scholarship fund for Stanford student-athletes.
Childress knows the benefits of Stanford’s summer program personally. He turned professional following the 2004 season and was the sixth player taken in the NBA draft—the highest a Stanford player has ever been drafted. In the summer of 2013, the Southern California native returned to campus to take the units needed to complete his undergraduate degree in sociology.
That’s when I really got a sense of how important the summer can be both to individuals and to the team.
Financial aid funds like the Josh Childress Undergraduate Summer Athletic Scholarship are awarded separately from academic-year scholarships. The Childress Scholarship covers full tuition, room, board, books, and fees for a member of the men’s basketball team for the quarter.
For student-athletes, the summer term can be an opportunity to jump-start the academic year and ease the workload during the playing season. It’s also often a time for bonding among players who remain on campus.
“The first summer that my basketball team spent together, we really built a brotherhood. We were all working together for a common goal and trying to be the best for our teammates,” Childress explains. “I saw the same kind of dedication to ‘team’ in the men’s basketball and football programs in the summer of 2013, when I was back on campus finishing my degree.”
The first recipient of the Childress Scholarship, in the summer of 2014, was Chasson Randle, ’15, MA ’15. Randle was able to complete requirements for his undergraduate degree in African & African American Studies in three short years, thanks in part to the summer program. He is now pursuing a co-terminal master’s degree in psychology.
“Josh has been a great role model for me, and for all of my teammates,” says Randle. “We love the fact that he’s someone we can seek advice from, both from a sports and academic standpoint.”
Childress played professionally for Atlanta until 2008, then signed with Olympiacos Piraeus in Greece. He returned to the NBA in 2010 and played for Phoenix, Brooklyn, and New Orleans. In September 2014, he joined the Sydney Kings, part of the National Basketball League in Australia.
“Josh remains a very generous and committed supporter of our program," says Johnny Dawkins, the Anne and Tony Joseph Director of Men’s Basketball. “We’ve been fortunate to see people like him serve as stewards of the next generation.”