Claremont, Calif. (September 28, 2012) — Pitzer College has established the Arnaldo Rodriguez Scholarship to honor the College’s former vice president of admission and financial aid for his 14 years of service. The need-based, four-year scholarship is awarded to top-performing students of Latin American descent who attended high school in California and are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States.
Arnaldo Rodriguez served as Pitzer’s vice president of admission and financial aid from 1997 to 2011. During his tenure the total number of applicants to Pitzer more than doubled and the College’s admission rate dropped more than 40 percent.
“Arnaldo led the Office of Admission and Financial Aid with extraordinary vision, passion and commitment to equity and access,” said Angel Pérez, vice president and dean of admission and financial aid. “If it were not for his bold initiatives, the students awarded this scholarship would not have the chance to go to college.”
The naming of the Arnaldo Rodriguez Scholarship comes a couple of months after President Barack Obama signed an executive order that allows people younger than 30 who came to the United States before the age of 16 and were successful students or served in the military to receive a two-year deferral from deportation.
Rodriguez spearheaded the creation of the scholarship that now bears his name in 2007 after meeting a high school student who was at the top of her class and had lived in the US all her life but didn’t qualify for any financial aid due to her undocumented status. Rodriguez wanted to help students like her have access to higher education.
“The majority of these students have been in this country since they were infants,” Rodriguez said. “If you believe as I do that education is a transformative experience, this is a way to enrich the country—to bring everyone to the table. It’s the right thing to do.”