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Marilyn J. Perkins Claassen
Memorial Scholarship Program                        

The Marilyn J. Perkins Claassen Memorial Scholarship Program is to be awarded each year to two members of the stock plan community who wish to pursue the Certified Equity Professional (CEP) designation through the Santa Clara University CEP Institute (CEPI). 

Image of Marlyn Perkins

The original Marilyn J. Perkins Claassen Scholarship was funded by the Certified Equity Professional Institute.  From 2009 - 2011, OptionEase sponsored a second scholarship.  In 2012, the CEPI welcomed OPTRACK as a sponsor to further expand the program.

In 2016, Optrack was acquired by Computershare. We are pleased to have the continued support of the Marilyn J. Perkins Claasen Memorial Scholarship, now sponsored by Computershare.

The successful applicant will be provided with a full scholarship for all three levels, excluding exam materials. The recipient will be required to take all three exams within five (5) test cycles; the scholarship will expire at the end of five test cycles. If a scholarship recipient has already completed one or more levels of the CEP program, the scholarship will cover the costs of the remaining levels, excluding materials, to be completed within four (4) test cycles.

Scholarship Recipients


  • Rochelle Tolon - Scholarship sponsored by the Certified Equity Professional Institute

  • Lynn Cusick - Scholarship sponsored by Computershare


  • Timothy Hansen, CEP - Scholarship sponsored by the Certified Equity Professional Institute

  • Renha Stewart, CEP - Scholarship sponsored by OPTRACK


Eligibility Criteria

Applicants can come from any country and must have at least 2 years experience working in the equity compensation field. Once a scholarship award recipient has successfully earned the CEP designation, the recipient will be expected to be an active participant in the CEP Institute by volunteering to assist in the test preparation activities. It is expected that recipients will be involved in the stock plan community by volunteering with their local NASPP and/or GEO chapters and represent the CEPI at industry events. The recipients will be expected to promote the CEP designation throughout their career in the stock plan industry.


The successful applicant will demonstrate many of the same qualities that Marilyn demonstrated such as: commitment to improving the stock plan profession, public service, integrity, enthusiasm, energetic approach, and passion for the importance of obtaining the CEP designation. The selection committee includes at least one professional who knew Marilyn, as well as a representative from Santa Clara University. The selection committee and process is to be managed by the CEPI Advisory Board.


To be considered for a scholarship, the application must be submitted before the deadline and include the following:

  1. Applicant information - complete the online survey.
  2. Current copy of your resume
  3. 250-400 word summary statement of your long-term professional goals relevant to the equity compensation field and why obtaining the CEP designation is important to you
  4. A letter of recommendation from an individual who is qualified to evaluate your qualifications
  5. If applying for both scholarships: a brief summary (maximum 200 words) of your accounting background including education, work experience, and any other relevant information


A completed application should be submitted to CEPI@SCU.EDU by August 15th or the following Monday, if the 15th falls on a weekend. All application information must be provided in English. The Marilyn J. Perkins Claassen Memorial Scholarship will be awarded each summer, beginning in 2007, with the recipient to be notified by September 1 in order to begin preparing for the November exam.



About Computershare

Computershare ( is a global market leader in transfer agency, employee equity plans, proxy solicitation, stakeholder communications, and other diversified financial and governance services. Many of the world’s leading organizations use Computershare’s services to help maximize the value of relationships with their investors, employees, creditors, members and customers.


Marilyn Perkins Claassen (1947 - 2004)

Marilyn Perkins Claassen was an inspiration to many people in the equity compensation field. She will be remembered not only for her quick mind and sharp wit, but more importantly for her compassion, patience, and generosity. Her combination of financial expertise and fearless vision continues to inspire and motivate countless individuals to become active participants and leaders in the equity compensation field.

Marilyn started in the equity compensation industry before there was a defined industry to speak of. She rapidly moved into leadership positions, driving this industry to where we are today. She was committed to growing equity compensation into a viable career path for future generations; as a revolutionary in the field, Marilyn was instrumental in founding the Certified Equity Professional Institute (CEPI) in 1989 as a way for equity professionals to gain further credibility and set a standard for job-related knowledge. Marilyn served on the CEPI Advisory Board from 1992-1994, serving as its Chair in 1993. Marilyn was also a founding member of ESSA (The Stock Forum) the original predecessor association to the National Association of Stock Plan Professionals (NASPP).

The CEPI is offering a scholarship in Marilyn’s name to honor her legacy and commemorate the significant achievements she made to the industry by doing something that she would have wanted; encouraging and enabling highly motivated candidates to pursue opportunities to advance their careers.

Many industry experts began their careers working with Marilyn. She supported, challenged, and – above all else – inspired them to greatness.

Marilyn had a vision and passion for the equity compensation profession that truly inspired so many professionals to demonstrate their knowledge by obtaining the CEP designation. She was extremely instrumental in helping to build our profession to the level of recognition that CEPs are benefiting from today. I am thankful to Marilyn for the opportunity she gave me to work for Perkins Shareholder Services in its infancy in 1994. She had an excitement for her new company that was really contagious and the experience was invaluable to me. I think Marilyn would be so pleased to see that so many employers today are seeking CEPs to manage their equity compensation programs. - Wendy Jennings, CEP

Marilyn had faith in me and my abilities and invited me to work for her when she first started Perkins Shareholder Services back when it was in a shared loft-type office in Palo Alto. She sent me to clients to teach them software, to work with new stock administrators, and on special projects. I owe the success of my career as an independent equity compensation consultant to Marilyn and the opportunity she gave me in 1995. - Joan Matlack, CEP

Marilyn was a good friend and a supportive colleague for many years. I met Marilyn early in both our careers. I was immediately taken with her style and sense of adventure, but more importantly impressed by her commitment to furthering her career objectives through continued education. Early on there were few significant educational opportunities in our field, and, many of us learned by doing our own research and relying on mentorship and support. Marilyn spent a good deal of time and effort attempting to improve the lot of stock administrators – from both educational support and professional development perspectives. She was instrumental in The Stock Forum’s initial efforts to bring more formal education to its members, and then in the original development of the CEP program at Santa Clara University. Marilyn was a soft-spoken, classy lady, whose killer wardrobe hid the bulldog’s strength, determination, and fearless tenacity she displayed in working toward her own goals and in encouraging those of others. I miss her laugh, but her confidence, support, and her example, still inspire me. – Joanne Burns

Thank you to Michael Claassen, Alisa Baker, Judy Wright, CEP, Joanne Burns, Susan Garvin, CEP, Joan Matlack, CEP, and Wendy Jennings, CEP, for providing biographical information on Marilyn.