The Art of Paying it Forward

Art Littleworth receives as much joy as he gives

Austin Claiborne ’16, and Art Littleworth. ucr file


Organized neatly in Art Littleworth’s office desk is a special file that brings him a great deal of joy.

The file contains dozens of thank-you letters and handwritten cards received over the past 30 years from UC Riverside students who have benefitted from the Arthur L. Littleworth Endowed Scholarship Fund. Occasionally, he will pull the file from his desk drawer and fondly reminisce about the many young people whose lives he helped shape.

Littleworth knows first-hand how impactful and life-changing a scholarship can be. Growing up in Los Angeles, Littleworth was raised in a middle-class family that could never have afforded to send their only son to a prestigious university far from home. Through the generosity of others, he received a full scholarship to Yale University.

The experiences Littleworth gained by attending Yale broadened his view on life. There, he earned degrees in history and law, and, later, a master’s degree from Stanford University. With that foundation, he went on to have a long and distinguished career as one of the preeminent water law attorneys in the United States and authored “California Water,” a definitive book on the topic. And his life outside of law was just as big.

He served on countless community boards, including 14 distinguished years of service on the Board of Education of the Riverside Unified School District, where he played a leading role in overseeing the voluntary desegregation of the district.

A heart for community service, a deep passion for education, and his personal experience as the recipient of a transformative scholarship led Littleworth to help others as he was helped. His gratitude was expressed through the establishment of the Arthur L. Littleworth Endowed Scholarship Fund to support graduates of the Riverside Unified School District who attend UCR.

Since the scholarship’s inception nearly 30 years ago, Littleworth’s gift has transformed the lives of students whose UCR education has enabled them to become teachers, coaches, medical doctors, police officers, environmental researchers, and businesspeople.

Austin Claiborne ’16, the most recent recipient of the Littleworth Scholarship, regularly shared his progress and achievements at UCR with Littleworth and his wife, Peggy, and credits him for making it possible to graduate. At Austin’s recent graduation ceremony, it was hard to detect which of the two — Littleworth or Claiborne — felt more pride and joy.

See the story in the winter 2017 edition of the UCR Magazine.


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