This story shows the impact scholarships have on University of Kentucky students. Ensuring students' success is one of the top priorities for the university's new $2.1 billion comprehensive campaign, Kentucky Can: The 21st Century Campaign.
A native of Orlando, Fla., Irving D. Rodriguez had no problems adjusting to the Bluegrass state when he began attending the University of Kentucky. He immersed himself in the culture, cheering on the Wildcats and volunteering with College Mentors for Kids.
“I enjoy the state of Kentucky,” Rodriguez said. “I call it ‘My New Kentucky Home.’ I immediately felt at home when I came here, and the way the instructors and staff treated me had a big impact on that.”
He even founded Brotherhood for the Widowhood, an organization that he created in Florida to help his tennis coach’s sister. After she lost her husband, she needed help around the house. Irving and his friends helped her rake the leaves, move boxes and take out the trash. When he moved to Kentucky, he incorporated a chapter of the organization and began helping people in need.
The 20-year-old kinesiology major has a philanthropic heart. After he graduates, in addition to becoming a physical therapist, he wants to create a foundation to help inner-city or at risk youth, providing them guidance and scholarships so they can attain their dreams, similar to what his Dorothy and Richard Crutcher Family Scholarship donors have done for him.
“Coming from where I’m from, not many people believe that college is not feasible or affordable, but through scholarships and excelling in academics, doors can open,” Rodriguez said. “Receiving a scholarship gave me hope. It was a beacon of light that allowed me to continue my studies and reminded me to continue striving toward my end goal – becoming a physical therapist. By pursuing my education, I can become a part of the upward march of humanity, and I want to thank my donors for that.”