Bill De La Rosa ’16—already a Truman Scholar, Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, Gates Millennium Scholar, and Michael and Susan Dell Scholar—has just been selected as Hispanic Scholar of the Year. Each year, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund recognizes two outstanding Hispanic scholars in the United States from the thousands who apply.
De La Rosa attended the award ceremony in Los Angeles on Wednesday, April 20.
A Latin American studies and sociology major, De La Rosa has dedicated much of his time to advocating for and aiding undocumented immigrants. This spring, he led an Alternative Spring Break trip for Bowdoin students to the Arizona/Mexico border to observe the consequences of heightened border security measures. He has also worked as a volunteer aid worker in the Sonoran Desert, helping humanitarian organizations deliver food, water and medical kits to desert-crossing migrants. In 2013 he was the youngest participant to be selected to participate in Stanford University’s Forum for Cooperation, Understanding and Solidarity, which promotes better U.S.-Mexico relations.
The story of De La Rosa’s family was recently documented by Arizona Public Media and the Arizona Daily Star, which reported on how the family has coped since their mother was deported from the U.S. In 2009, De La Rosa’s Mexican-born mother was denied an American green card and forced into a 10-year separation from her four children, all under 17 at the time, and her ailing Mexican husband. All four children and her husband are U.S. citizens. Read the story, “Divided by Law.”