Westmont Magazine Returning the Gift of Education
With years of experience in human resources, Denise Jackson ’78 looks for certain qualities when hiring: integrity, a desire to learn and grow, and previous success. She doesn’t seek people who put work at the center of their lives — she had to learn for herself the importance of a balanced life.
“Through some personal challenges, I recreated my life and got my priorities in order,” she says. “I no longer define myself by my job. There are other things in my life that I want to do and be.”
Denise has worked in human resources management at Neiman Marcus, Republic Pictures, Digital Domain and The Walt Disney Company. For 11 years, she has taught human resources classes for the UCLA extension program, which she loves.
Seeking antiques is another passion; Denise started collecting as a child. “I enjoy the hunt for that special item,” she says. “I am always trying to refine my collection!”
Family matters to her. She belongs to Holman United Methodist Church in Los Angeles, where her grandmother and great-grandmother attended. “My parents courted in that church, and I was christened there,” she says. “Someone in my family has been at that church all my life.”
To honor her father and mother, David and Anita Jackson, Denise has set up a scholarship in their name to be funded through her estate. “My parents are terrific people,” she says. “I didn’t want their work to go unnoticed. My mom is a retired teacher, and my dad owned his own business. They are such proponents of education — they educated three children. I wanted them to know the magnitude of my gratitude for the gift of my education.”
The scholarship will benefit students of color. Denise appreciates her Westmont education and ongoing friendships, but she wants to see the college become more diverse. “African-American parents look for African-American mentors for their children,” she says. “That’s very important to them.”
For more information about the Wallace Emerson Society, call the Office of Gift Planning, (805) 565-6058 or (800) 998-5652.