Palm Springs Modern Committee Honors PSUSD Students at Annual Scholarship Reception – June 17, 2014

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Palm Springs Modern Committee celebrated three Palm Springs Unified School District (PSUSD) high school graduates who were each awarded a one thousand dollar ($1000.00) scholarship during a reception at the historic Desert Star on Tuesday, June 17, 2014. 

Hosts Debra and Richard Hovel, owners/operators of the classic mid-century modern Palm Springs apartment-hotel, joined PS ModCom board members in welcoming the scholarship recipients, their families, friends, and school officials to the meticulously restored site which was designed by renowned Palm Springs architect Howard Lapham in 1956.

During a lively social hour, guests enjoyed refreshments catered by Lynn Hammond while touring the property, an outstanding example of mid-century modern preservation.  At dusk, everyone gathered for a formal recognition of the scholars by PS ModCom board member Robert Imber, Chairman of PS ModCom’s Education Committee.

2014 Scholars Oscar Castillo (Palm Springs High School); Bryant Islas (Cathedral City High School); and Miguel Lopez (Desert Hot Springs High School) received framed scholarship certificates, a selection of books and documentary DVDs highlighting Palm Springs mid-century modern architecture; PS ModCom’s Palm Springs Mid-Century Modern Architecture Driving Tour Mobile Application; and PS ModCom’s Self-Driving Tour Map — all highlighting the most important modern architecture in the Palm Springs area.

As has become a poignant tradition at the annual scholarship reception, students introduced themselves and shared their educational plans; and guests took turns sharing heartfelt congratulations.

“PSMODCOM is increasingly gratified as each year we receive more student applications and our scholarship and educational programs grow with the generous support of members and donors,” Imber said, adding that, “At the beginning of the 2014-15 school year, we’ll be donating educational materials to the school libraries and an in-school teaching curriculum, organizing architectural field trips, and a student mentoring program.”

PS ModCom is a 501 (C-3) non-profit membership organization whose mission includes preservation, education and advocacy for the desert modern mid-century architecture. The Committee provides three $1,000 scholarships to graduating senior high school students who have expressed interest in pursuing a career in architecture, architectural preservation, urban planning, environmental studies, or related design disciplines. One student from each of the three Palm Springs Unified School District (PSUSD) highs schools is selected from numerous applicants meeting various criteria provided by the school’s counseling department. Funds are provided to the student’s college or university school account to be used at their discretion for tuition, supplies or for housing.  The scholarship can also be applied to a PS ModCom-approved independent project proposed by the scholarship recipient. Every year, PS ModCom is pleased to participate in each of the school’s scholarship awards ceremonies, where students receive a complimentary PS ModCom membership and a packet of educational materials as part of their scholarship.

For more information about PS ModCom and/or to help fund scholarships in an account solely dedicated to educational outreach, please contact Nickie McLaughlin, executive director at: or visit the web site at:

Photography by Loretta Vlach

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