Stories

Francisco Jiménez Scholar Award

Saying goodbye to one of Santa Clara’s most iconic and beloved teachers is a poignant moment in University history. In February 2015, international award-winning author, champion of Chicano and Mexican-American literature, 2002 U.S. Professor of the Year, and all-around buen hombre Francisco Jiménez left his full-time teaching post in Modern Languages and Literatures after 46 years at Santa Clara—four of them spent as an undergrad. As Professor Emeritus, he plans to deliver education talks across the country, serve as a mentor to SCU undergraduates through the LEAD Scholars Program and visit with the many school children who come to meet him on campus.

Hot on the heels of his retirement announcement comes the naming of the newest school in Santa Maria, California: the Roberto and Dr. Francisco Jiménez Elementary School, or Jiménez Elementary. The name pays homage to Francisco and his brother Roberto, who were both migrant workers and elementary school students in Santa Maria. The late Roberto, who sacrificed his education as an adolescent so that “Panchito” could pursue his passion for learning, worked in the Santa Maria-Bonita School District for 40 years.

“I had a difficult time finding words to express the deep and heartfelt gratitude I feel for everyone who was involved in naming this beautiful school in honor of Roberto and me,” Francisco said at the school’s inauguration.

To carry out his legacy at SCU, the Department has established the Francisco Jiménez Scholar Award, which recognizes an outstanding “rising” senior and first generation college student whose academic and service achievements mirror Jiménez’s own work. For academic year 2015–16, the inaugural recipient and winner of a $500 prize is Angélica Delgado ’16.

Growing up in Richmond, California, Delgado encountered more run-ins with violence than success. But thanks to her family’s “traditional Mexican morals” and strong educational values, she eventually made her way to SCU and became a LEAD scholar through the University Honors Program. Now a sociology major with double minors in public health and ethnic studies, she serves the Ignatian Center’s Thriving Neighbors program, helping the Greater Washington community of San Jose develop a fitness program for elementary school mothers.

Like Jiménez, Delgado’s dedication to social service runs deep. Over the past four years, she has volunteered her time at the American Heart Association, Kaiser Permanente Hospital, Richmond’s own Building Healthy Communities—and as a bilingual tutor for low-income children at the Sacred Heart Education Center and Alma Youth Center.

Following graduation, she plans to complete her master’s degree in public health before returning to Richmond to work in violence prevention.

Learn more about the scholarship.

Photos by Adam Hays