Contact:      Sheri Ledbetter
                    [email protected]

UCI Esports receives $50,000 gift from top video game streamer Pokimane 

Donation will establish program’s first endowment for student scholarships

Newswise — Irvine, Calif., Feb. 13, 2020 — Popular gaming personality Pokimane has donated $50,000 to the University of California, Irvine for student scholarships in its esports program. An initial $25,000 gift this year will be combined with the remaining $25,000 in 2021 to create an endowment that will fund tuition and fees for gamers selected by UCI Esports.

Imane Anys, better known as Pokimane, is a prominent Twitch video game streamer and YouTuber. Currently a resident of Los Angeles, the 23-year-old Moroccan Canadian got her start streaming herself playing “League of Legends” and “Fortnite.” UCI’s esports teams regularly compete in “League of Legends” and were the national champions in 2018.

“I am so pleased to be able to give back to the gaming world, which has given me so much,” Pokimane said. “I love being able to share my experience of how I got to where I am today in hopes that it will help others who are on their way. I’m also especially happy to be supporting UCI’s esports program because their students are focusing on gaming in addition to pursuing their college degrees – which, I can say from experience, isn’t easy!”

This is the first endowment in the history of UCI’s 4-year-old esports program, and it allows the merit-based Pokimane Scholarship to be awarded in perpetuity to deserving students. Beginning in 2022, about $2,500 will be given annually to a single undergraduate. There is no limit to how many times a student can earn the scholarship during his or her time at UCI.

“We couldn’t be more excited about this generous gift from Pokimane,” said Mark Deppe, director of UCI Esports. “The gaming community contributes so much passion and energy to the world of esports, and we are thrilled to recognize and reward some of the outstanding leaders. I am incredibly thankful for Poki’s generosity, and I hope this will inspire other successful gamers and streamers in the future.”

Pokimane has amassed more than 17 million followers across all platforms and has made her channels places where they can come for a positive, uplifting time. She has always wanted her streams and content to be about bringing joy to her fans and building a community in which everyone can feel safe to be who they are and find support.

“This is such an exciting experience for the UCI gaming community,” said Shannon Chan, a senior in informatics and president of The Association of Gamers at UCI. “It’s very inspiring and heartwarming to see such a prominent streamer interact so closely with us. Thank you to Pokimane for her generous gift! As a leader in our campus gaming scene, I’ve gotten to know so many passionate gamers who, I’m sure, will be thrilled about this. I’m excited to see how this will support them.”

UCI is ranked among the nation’s top 10 public universities by U.S. News & World Report, has been named the No. 1 college in the country by Money magazine, and is first on Sierra magazine’s list of the nation’s most sustainable “Cool Schools.” UCI also was ranked No. 1 by Forbes for best value among America’s public universities and twice in a row topped The New York Times’ College Access Index of U.S. universities “doing the most for the American dream” for its commitment to upward mobility.

About UCI Esports: UCI is the first public university to create an official esports program, regarded as one of the best and most comprehensive in the world. With a successful computer game science major, a thriving gaming community and a history of elite competition, UCI was a natural place for esports to thrive. On Sept. 23, 2016, the UCI Esports Arena, powered by iBUYPOWER, opened.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 36,000 students and offers 222 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $5 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit www.uci.edu.

Media access: Radio programs/stations may, for a fee, use an on-campus ISDN line to interview UCI faculty and experts, subject to availability and university approval. For more UCI news, visit news.uci.edu. Additional resources for journalists may be found at communications.uci.edu/for-journalists.