November 26, 1936 – August 25, 2020
In memory of Elsa Rodriguez, her children, Ileana, Elsa and Jose Musa have established a scholarship endowment to benefit future first-generation leaders of FIU Honors College. Elsa was an avid learner, an Honors student, and a first-generation college student who believed that an education and a strong work ethic were the keys to having a purposeful life. In 1970, she left Cuba for the United States with her three young children, all under five years old. Throughout that time, she worked multiple jobs to support her children while instilling in them a strong work ethic and passion for education. Elsa used to say, “El ‘No’ Ya Lo Tienes” (“You already have ‘no’ as an option if you don’t do anything”) as her personal mantra when she needed to take risks to support her vision for a better life. Her perseverance greatly influenced her children’s academic accomplishment as each received their college degrees. Elsa herself returned to school to complete her own college education at almost 70 years old.
Just as Elsa supported her children throughout their life, her family is grateful to have the opportunity to pay it forward by supporting FIU students in honor of Elsa’s legacy. The family is excited to see the impact this scholarship will have on students and their future. They hope that Elsa’s story will inspire them to stay on course, reach new heights, and continue to pay it forward.
This gift is part of the First-Generation Scholarship Fund Program, which supports FIU students who are the first generation in their families to receive a college degree and provides variable amount annual scholarships.
The FIU Foundation applies for state matching funds at the maximum rate possible under regulations established by the Florida Board of Governors for the First Generation Matching Grant (FGMG) program. Subject to an annual appropriation by the Florida Legislature, funds allocated for First Generation Scholarships are eligible for a match and used to provide scholarship support to undergraduate students in accordance with the regulations of the First Generation Matching Grant Program. The current allocation for the FGMG is a 2:1 match. The Elsa Rodriguez First Generation Memorial Scholarship Endowment will be matched 200 percent by the State of Florida for up to $10,000 for one student per year and up to four years.