Giving

Santos Rodriguez Memorial Endowed Scholarship

The Santos Rodriguez Memorial Scholarship will promote Human Rights education for emerging leaders, and honor the memory of a young boy whose life ended far too soon. Will you join us today with a generous gift or pledge? 

Make a gift online.

Or, send checks payable to “SMU” to:

The Santos Rodriguez Memorial Scholarship Endowment Fund
Dedman College Development Office
SMU
PO Box 750235
Dallas, TX 75275-0235

Purpose

The Santos Rodriguez Memorial Scholarship will celebrate the life of this young boy by providing other young persons with an opportunity that he never had - the opportunity for a college education. It will also dignify the memory of July 24, 1973 by perpetually transforming the terrible injustice of that day into a positive force for change.

Scholarship funds will provide support to qualified students studying Human Rights at SMU. As one of only seven institutions in the nation to offer an undergraduate degree in Human Rights, SMU is dedicated to nurturing a new generation of ethical and effective leaders. These leaders will fight to ensure that all children have opportunities to thrive, and that no families must lose daughters and sons to violence. Many students from diverse backgrounds come to SMU specifically to study with the Embrey Human Rights Program. The Santos Rodriguez Scholarship will make this degree more accessible, especially for students who demonstrate financial hardship.

The Santos Rodriguez Scholarship Memorial Campaign is proceeding in partnership with the Latino Center for Leadership Development and with the full knowledge and approval of the Rodriguez family. Bessie Rodriguez, the mother of Santos and David, is advising the campaign in accordance with the family’s wishes.

Funding

The campaign goal is to raise at least $300,000 by December 31, 2016 to establish a new scholarship endowment in the Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. Once funded, the endowment will provide $10,000 in annual scholarship support to be awarded to a student majoring in Human Rights. The level of support will increase over time to keep up with inflation. 

We expect to select the first Santos Rodriguez student scholar for the 2015-2016 academic year. To help accomplish this ambitious goal, the Latino Center for Leadership Development has pledged $100,000 to the campaign to be used for a 2:1 challenge grant. The challenge grant will increase the impact of each gift over $500 by 50%. All gifts of $500 or more will be eligible to be matched until the challenge is reached. This generous and visionary contribution calls on others to step forward in bringing justice and healing to Dallas.

The Santos Rodriguez Memorial Scholarship will promote Human Rights education for emerging leaders, and honor the memory of a young boy whose life ended far too soon. Will you join us today with a generous gift or pledge?


Gift inquires may be directed to:

The Dedman College Office of Development
dedmancollegedev@smu.edu
214-768-2608

Media Room

Santos Rodriguez



In the early hours of July 24, 1973, 12-year-old Santos Rodriguez and his 13-year-old brother David were illegally taken from their Dallas home, handcuffed, and placed in a police car for questioning by police officers. Placing a revolver against the younger boy’s head, one of the officers attempted to elicit information on a recent robbery by pulling the trigger of his revolver in a game of “Russian Roulette.” Rodriguez maintained his innocence, a claim that was later corroborated by physical evidence at the robbery scene. A second pull of the trigger fired a live bullet that killed the boy instantly.


This tragedy sparked widespread public outcry and led to the only race riot in Dallas history. The officer was sentenced to five years in prison, though he was released after only half of that time. In 2013 - forty years after the incident - Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings issued an official apology on behalf of the City of Dallas to the Rodriguez family after grassroots efforts brought the event back into the public spotlight. The Santos Rodriguez Memorial Scholarship Campaign seeks to follow this symbolic first step toward progress with a more tangible second step.