With the assistance of a Southwestern Board of Trustees member, Jorge Diaz Cuervo ’90 P’21 P’26, the Office of University Relations and Office of Enrollment Services were introduced to students from two high schools and Ricardo Salinas of Grupo Salinas. From this introduction, Southwestern and Grupo Salinas partnered to develop a closer relationship and increase the enrollment of qualified Plantel Azteca and Humanitree high school students at Southwestern.

“When I was invited to join the Board of Trustees, I knew this would be one of my main tasks: building relations between Mexico and SU,” Diaz recalls. “I have been working close to Ricardo Salinas for the past five years, so I know how much he and his wife, María Laura, care about education and its power in changing people’s lives for good. When I talked to them about SU, its liberal arts approach, its history, rankings, and programs like Paideia, they asked me to find a way to establish a formal agreement so that students from Plantel Azteca and Humanitree could see SU as an opportunity.”

The University will provide a quality liberal arts educational experience fostering academic collaboration for a future generation of scholars. “A broad, well-rounded education creates better students and leaders,” said Paul Secord, vice president for university relations and strategic initiatives.

Additionally, Southwestern will partner with Universidad de la Libertad to establish exchange programs for faculty members and students. Double certification and accreditation will also be explored.

Southwestern has created the Ricardo B. Salinas Pliego-Plantel Azteca Scholarship in collaboration with Salinas. This scholarship will be awarded annually to one student from the Plantel Azteca schools and will cover 100% of Southwestern’s yearly tuition. Salinas has also generously agreed to award this student with an additional scholarship to cover the cost of room, board, and related expenses during their enrollment. Once fully engaged, up to four scholarship recipients will be enrolled at any time.

“There is a big opportunity for us [Southwestern] to be a partner with them and show these students what a liberal arts education can do,” said Tom Delahunt, vice president for strategic recruitment and enrollment.

While visiting Plantel Azteca, Delahunt, Secord, Bob Baldwin, director of enrollment operations, Alisa Gaunder, dean of the faculty, and Jorge Carrizalez, financial aid counselor, were able to visit with students and see their robotics lab, where all their projects are created from recycled materials that the students sourced themselves. “The students are so impressive,” Delahunt said. “They are really resourceful and are the kind of people you want to be around.”

Southwestern will also establish the María Laura Medina Espinosa-Humanitree scholarships. These scholarships will be awarded annually to up to four students from Humanitree high school and will cover 50% of Southwestern’s yearly tuition. Once fully engaged, up to 16 Humanitree high school scholarship recipients will be enrolled at any time.

While these scholarship recipients are enrolled at Southwestern, they will participate in the University’s internship program, allowing students to supplement their education with direct work experience. Grupo Salinas has agreed to provide a minimum of five unpaid internship opportunities and will serve as the site sponsor.