The Orozco Room was the setting for a celebration honoring Professor Aida Rodriguez, who is retiring after 18 years of dedication and service to the university. Aida joined the Milano School in 1999 as Professor of Professional Practice and Chair of the Nonprofit Management Program. When she arrived at The New School she brought with her a unique combination of public, nonprofit, and philanthropic sector know-how and a history of distinguished scholarship. Her career—then and now— is dedicated to ensuring social justice for people of color and women and social equity in philanthropy and philanthropic organizations with emphasis on Latino communities.
She began her work in philanthropy at The Rockefeller Foundation while earning her doctorate. She spent 16 years at the Foundation. Her community and board service extends to the New York Foundation, Artist-Endowed Foundation Leaders Aspen Institute Initiative, the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM), just to name a few. Her work in philanthropy has been honored throughout her career. Of note was the honor of receiving 2003 Council on Foundations’ Robert W. Scrivner Award for Creative Grantmaking and most recently the 2017 Hispanics in Philanthropy (HIP) Giver Award.
A committed teacher, Aida always brought her leadership skills, philanthropic networks, and extensive knowledge of the nonprofit sector to the classroom in courses such as Social Justice Philanthropy and when guiding countless students through their capstone experience, the Advanced Seminar. Aida has served on dissertation committees, faculty working groups, advisory boards, and curriculum committees. As Executive Dean Mary Watson noted, “She has taught hundred, perhaps thousands of students, not only the practical skills required for leadership, but has inspired them to imagine organizational forms that recognize and incorporate the talents of a diverse group of collaborators.”
In her address, Aida spoke of the phases of her work. Her first career was in the public sector. Next came her years at Rockefeller. Now after years in academia, she is ready to enter the next phase of her career. In her fourth phase, Aida shared her vision of bringing her experience and commitment to the philanthropic sector in Puerto Rico. She also plans to write her memoir. We can’t wait to get a copy.