Scripps’ New Parent Leadership Council Co-Chairs: “All Parents Have Stories Students Benefit From”

By Emily Glory Peters

John Fukunaga and Cheryl Shojinaga (far left and far right) are the newest co-chairs of Scripps’ Parent Leadership Council, a group dedicated to helping the College thrive.

John Fukunaga and Cheryl Shojinaga are the newest co-chairs of Scripps’ Parent Leadership Council (PLC), a group dedicated to helping the College thrive—but they’re no strangers to volunteering. Before their youngest daughter, Emma, began her journey at Scripps, the couple saw the value of giving back at their eldest daughter’s university. Now, belonging to the PLC has opened a portal to their daughter’s new world.

“The Parent Leadership Council offers families a way of staying involved with the College independently of your student,” says Shojinaga. “It lets us stay informed about things on campus that might be of interest to us as parents, but not to Emma. It means we can talk with her about her personal Scripps experience while also getting insights about broader campus life through PLC.”

Parent Leadership Council offers guidance and inspiration to the broader Scripps community

Both West Coast natives, Fukunaga and Shojinaga grew up in the San Fernando Valley in Southern California. Shojinaga, formerly in merchandising management, took on the role of stay-at-home mom while balancing leadership positions with the Girl Scouts and as a founding member of the National Charity League, Manhattan-Hermosa Chapter. Fukunaga, who also recently joined Scripps’ Board of Trustees, currently serves as deputy general counsel and executive vice president of Sony Pictures’ legal department.

“I think my career path influenced both my daughters to not go into law,” Fukunaga says. “Being a lawyer was a great career choice for me, but it’s not for everyone. It’s given me the opportunity to do work I find interesting and to work closely with a lot of interesting people across a variety of professions. I’ve been able to share those experiences with them, which has helped them decide what they might want—or not want—to do.”

Regardless of their daughters’ chosen careers, Fukunaga and Shojinaga agree that families have a unique ability to expose current students to new personal and professional paths. Members of the PLC support Scripps not only through generous charitable giving, but also by offering direction, guidance, mentorship, and inspiration to the entire Scripps community.

As Parent Leadership Council co-chairs, Fukunaga and Shojinaga hope to inspire others by “walking the walk” to support Scripps students—either as fellow PLC members or simply by staying involved with the College. For them, that help from other families can come in many ways, such as attending Scripps events, hosting welcome events, offering career advice and mentoring to students, or being available to parents of incoming, current, or applying students.

“A simple half-hour conversation over a cup of coffee in the Village can be incredibly helpful,” says Fukunaga. “Hearing about your life’s journey and what life can be after Scripps—whether it’s about what you do day-to-day, your path and why you chose it, the hard work you’ve had to put in and the adversity you’ve had to overcome—is invaluable to students.” No matter your background, he continues, it’s information and advice that may not typically be available to them.

“All parents have stories students can relate to and benefit from. Sharing them will give you the opportunity to meet with the amazing Scripps students, learn about their experiences, and see first-hand why these students are are so special,” he says.

The next opportunity to spark parent engagement will be Scripps’ Family Weekend on February 19–21, 2022. All parents are invited to attend this virtual event, with members able to immerse themselves in Scripps’ vibrant culture and get a behind-the-scenes look at College courses, tours, and performances. Members of the Parent Leadership Council will also be invited to a special pre-Family Weekend reception hosted by Interim President Amy Marcus-Newhall.

Adds Shojinaga, “Family Weekend will be important, and we encourage everyone to join us—it’ll be a wonderful thing to be in the same space with other families.”

Scripps parents influence College culture for the better. To get involved with the Parent Leadership Council, please click here.