The Don Diego Scholarship Foundation is kicking off its 35th anniversary year by offering $73,500 in 2021 college scholarships to 26 outstanding and deserving students who reside in the San Diego area and have participated in the San Diego County Fair and/or other activities associated with the Del Mar Fairgrounds in previous years.

The deadline to apply is Midnight on March 29, 2021. Eligibility/selection details and applications are at

Scholarships are offered in six categories. Individual awards range from $1,000 to $20,000.

Scholarships of $5,000, $2,500, $1,500 and $1,000 will be awarded in each of four categories: 4-H; FFA; Employee; and Exhibitor/Participant.

A one-time Liss Family Scholarship renewable for three additional years of college will be awarded to an outstanding $5,000 recipient from one of the above categories. This total $20,000, four-year scholarship is funded by Don Diego Board member Jon Liss.

A $5,000 Spanjian Family Scholarship will be awarded to an outstanding $5,000 recipient from one of the above categories for a total $10,000 award.

One $3,500, one $2,500 and six $1,000 scholarships will be awarded to 4-H or FFA participants in the Fair’s Junior Livestock Auction.

Two $2,500 Vocational Education scholarships will be awarded to qualifying students who wish to pursue an AA/AS degree or certificate at a community college or accredited trade school.

Don Diego Chair Juanita Hayes states, “Each year, hard-working students emanating from throughout the region have won Don Diego scholarships in a highly competitive selection process. They have gone on to excel at college and forge worthwhile careers in agriculture, education, healthcare and other fields. I feel confident that the Class of 2021 will continue that tradition and do us all proud.”

Chair Hayes emphasizes, “Even amid last-year’s pandemic-related challenges, Don Diego strengthened core programs, expanded outreach efforts, and innovated new opportunities such as Endowed Named Matching Scholarships. We encourage people to learn more and get involved in our exciting 35th year of building a better San Diego, one scholarship at a time.”

The Don Diego Scholarship Foundation was named for Don Diego, AKA Tom Hernandez, who served as the Fair’s welcoming goodwill ambassador from 1947-1984.
To date since its inception in 1986, the Foundation has awarded $1,116,500 in scholarships to 279 students and in agriculture education grants. More information is at and