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 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.