Two Cal State San Bernardino pre-med students from the High Desert have been awarded the prestigious Dr. Prem Reddy Academic Excellence Scholarship.

The scholarship went to third-year student Antonio Kanczel of Barstow and freshman Jesse Wetzel of Apple Valley, both of whom are biology majors with a pre-med option and have made the Dean’s List.

Wetzel, who has a 3.56 grade point average, plans on getting a doctorate in optometry and eventually becoming an optometrist. Kanczel, who has a 3.68 grade point average, plans on attending medical school with aspirations of becoming a surgeon with the ultimate goal of becoming head of surgery.

“We’re grateful for Dr. Reddy’s generosity in funding scholarships to these two deserving students as well as other High Desert students here on campus,” said CSUSB President Tomás D. Morales. “Dr. Reddy’s foresight is an investment in our future to help students interested in becoming doctors, nurses or other types of healthcare professionals at a time when our region faces shortages in medical care providers.”

“These students are our future, and it is imperative that we help foster their interest in medicine,” said Dr. Reddy. “I came from an impoverished background to become a cardiologist. Nothing is impossible for these hard working students, and I hope that this scholarship helps them achieve their dreams.”

Established in 2006, the Dr. Prem Reddy Academic Excellence Scholarship is awarded to a qualifying student or students in pre-med, nursing, and/or health education programs at Cal State San Bernardino. A recipient must maintain a 3.5 GPA and be a full-time student in order to continue the scholarship.

Born in India, Reddy immigrated to the United States in 1976 with his wife, Venkamma, who is also a physician. He is double board-certified in internal medicine and cardiology. He was awarded the honor of Fellow of the American College of Cardiology (FACC) and a Fellow of the American College of Chest Physicians (FCCP). During his 25 years of practice in the High Desert, he has committed himself to the service of his patients and performed more than 5,000 cardiac procedures, including coronary angiography and angioplasty, and permanent pacemaker implantations.

Reddy also founded Prime Healthcare in 2001, starting with Desert Valley Hospital in Victorville. Since then, Prime Healthcare has expanded to own and operate 23 hospitals across the nation. The health system has been recognized as one of the “15 Top Health Systems” in the nation three times in the last five years, including in 2013, and its hospitals have earned “100 Top Hospitals” recognition 21 times.

Reddy also has been involved in philanthropic work for years. He established the Desert Valley Medical cFoundation in 1989. His support of healthcare students in the High Desert is well known, and was reinforced when Victor Valley College named its health sciences school after him in 2003.

He also founded and has been the sole contributor to the Prime Healthcare Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity, which owns five non-profit hospitals, and the Dr. Prem Reddy Family Foundation, a nonprofit foundation that has donated millions toward charities, including college scholarships, public healthcare education and free community clinics. Reddy has been recognized with numerous awards for his philanthropy.

The two students will not only receive the Dr. Prem Reddy Academic Excellence Scholarship, who are also Presidents Academic Excellence Scholarships, for this year, but will be awarded the scholarship for the remainder of their undergraduate career as long as they continue to meet the scholarship’s requirement of 3.5 grade point average, said Linda Hunt, the senior director of development at Cal State San Bernardino.

Since the program began in 2002, the large majority of PAES recipients have either graduated (some in three years) or are still pursuing a CSUSB degree. As they advance through college and eventually graduate, most of the PAES scholars will become part of a highly educated workforce.

CSUSB serves more than 20,000 students each year. The campus reflects the dynamic diversity of the region and has the most diverse student population of any university in the Inland Empire. The university has an annual statewide economic impact of more than half a billion dollars, along with more than $32 million in yearly statewide tax revenue.

To help support the President’s Academic Excellence Scholarship program at Cal State San Bernardino, contact the university’s Office of Development at (909) 537-5004.

For additional information about the program, contact the CSUSB admissions and student recruitment office at (909) 537-5188.

For more information about Cal State San Bernardino, contact the university’s Office of Public Affairs at (909) 537-5007 and visit