Writer: Daphne Griffin
Friday, July 13, 2018
When Frank Rodriguez was in high school in San Antonio, Texas, New Mexico State University wasn’t even on his radar. His basketball skills led him to seek scholarship opportunities at places like the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas at Austin. But, according to Frank, sometimes, the plans you make for yourself are not the plans that have been set for you.
“I didn’t even know where Las Cruces was,” Frank said. “But, God has a perfect plan for everyone and I cannot imagine my life had I not gone to NMSU. It was the perfect university for me because all that I am now, my wife and the family we’ve raised, is a result of my having gone to NMSU.”
Frank and his wife, Kimberly, are both NMSU alumni. Both wanted to give back to the university where their journey together began in 1981; and during NMSU’s Giving Tuesday event in November, they established the Jeremiah 29:11 Rodriguez Family Endowed Scholarship. Matched by gifts from generous donors, the NMSU Foundation was able to fully fund the endowment.
The Rodriguez’s considered a number of avenues when creating their family’s scholarship, but ultimately decided to focus on NMSU students with a declared major in education. Frank explained that he and his family believe teachers play a vital role in society and that it was important to honor those people who had dedicated their careers to educating the country’s youth.
Frank, a scholar athlete who was a power forward and center on the NMSU Men’s Basketball team, graduated in 1984 with a degree in biology. He credits his education to his teachers and believes that every teacher he had throughout his youth helped him earn his degree not only at NMSU, but also those through medical school. Today, he is an orthopedic surgeon and Kimberly, who earned her degree in education in 1984, is a first-grade teacher. The couple have raised three children who are all in the process of pursuing their own post-baccalaureate degrees.
The Rodriguez’s are grateful for the opportunities they’ve had and feel blessed to be at a point in their lives where they can make a difference for others.
“I know we can’t help everyone, but we can make a difference for at least one person,” Franks said. “We’re training the educators of tomorrow and, who knows, that one person may be the difference for all of us… that one educator who might be able to bridge societal gaps and create a brighter future for everyone.”
Andrea Tawney, former president of the NMSU Foundation said, “NMSU is grateful for the generosity of the Rodriguez family and all who support our university system’s mission. Frank and Kimberly’s passion to champion NMSU’s future educators will be a lasting legacy for all the students they impact throughout their careers.”
Frank says that he and Kimberly both believe their faith has guided them throughout their lives and hope this scholarship offers a glimpse of that to its recipients.
“Teaching is a labor of love - a sacrifice - and we wanted to help those who want to educate others,” Frank said, “As Jeremiah 29:11 says, this scholarship is to prosper students… to give them hope and a future.”