2004-2005 Academic Year

Inaugural Scholarship Recipient Jason Rivera '06

Fabian Nunez '97 Scholarship Benefit Speech

February 16, 2005

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for coming to this event and thank you for granting me this wonderful opportunity. I would first like to extend a very special thanks to Speaker Nunez; it is because of his legacy at Pitzer College that I stand before you tonight. I would also like to thank President Trombley and all those benefactors for selecting me as the inaugural recipient of this prestigious scholarship. Finally, I would like to thank all those here at Univision for hosting this event. Thank you all, very much.

When I was asked to speak tonight I was somewhat uncertain of what I would say. There were many things that I could say, but I was not sure how to convey them. However, I spoke with my grandfather recently in one of the most candid conversations he and I have ever shared. He was lying there telling me how there are few things that are of sentimentality to him, but those things are very close to his heart. He told me that he did not know why I was so worried about what I should say and whether or not it would be appropriate for such an event as this because having read some of my essays and papers, he felt there was no way I could go wrong because those things, my words on paper, are some of those sentimental things in his heart. He told me that so long as I was me, I could not go wrong because that is when I am at my best, simply expressing the thoughts and emotions that are mine.

So, here I am being just that…me. I am very humbled in the fact that my efforts have allowed me to be selected as the inaugural recipient of the Fabian Nunez Scholarship. I am very privileged to even have my work recognized for what it is, which is not something that could be easily done at a school unlike Pitzer College. It is funny that my grandfather told me to be myself and I would be fine simply because that is what Pitzer College is all about. I had the opportunity to attend a number of schools, both state and private, that are bigger in size and name. There was just something about Pitzer that I could not escape. At Pitzer, we are encouraged to think for ourselves and challenge that which is said to be true. However, we never do it on our own. At Pitzer every student can get what they want from their education and are seen as an individual and rewarded for their unique abilities. That is something I could never receive at any other institution and it is that attention and call for an academic challenge to what is “true” that attracted me to Pitzer College.

It takes a certain amount of tenaciousness to move forward and challenge the idea that what we live in today is the end product. Speaker Nunez saw the need for something more and helped to enact change in the world around him because he was not satisfied with the idea that what was around him was all that was possible. I only hope that my belief in there being more may lead me down similar paths as Speaker Nunez. Fortunately, I have been given the opportunity of an education at Pitzer College that has helped give me the resources to challenge conventional wisdom and thought so that I am better prepared to help make a difference. I see my education and experiences at Pitzer helping to guide me through this path. Using my degree in Psychology and Organizational Studies, I plan to move forward with my education and gain a doctorate in Psychology. With Pitzer as my educational foundation, I hope to enact change in the world by researching how society influences individuals and then using this information to find ways that society and all of its conduits could have more positive influences on the world and its people. Unfortunately, not everyone of my ethnicity has such opportunities and I applaud Pitzer College for being bold enough to offer a scholarship such as this, which may aid in giving hope to those people that know the world could be more but just don’t know how to go about doing it.

For all the opportunities I have at Pitzer College, I thank the superb faculty and staff for challenging me to accept nothing than my conception of the best. For that I will always be thankful. In their constant pursuit to make sure I never settle for anything less than I am capable of, I thank my friends, especially my girlfriend, Ashley. Finally, to my family, especially my mother, I thank them for always supporting me and sacrificing what they can to give me the opportunities I have been given. Without them, I would not be where I am today. So to everyone here and who support the Fabian Nunez Scholarship, I challenge you to never settle and be yourselves in the pursuit of your thoughts and dreams. Thank you and good night.