Communique from the Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M.
Had she not been named a Gates Millennium Scholar, Rominna Villasenor is certain she would not have been able to afford to attend college.
But the scholarship program funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that provides significant assistance for high-achieving students of color lowered the financial barriers for Rominna. She has a stellar 3.4 grade point average and expects to graduate this year from DePaul with a degree in finance.
A native of the Philippines, Rominna is one of seven Gates Millennium Scholars at DePaul this year working toward either a graduate or an undergraduate degree. To be nominated for a Gates Millennium Scholarship, a student must be eligible for a federal Pell Grant, which primarily assists students from families with annual incomes of less than $40,000.
Another eligibility requirement is a strong record of community service. Rominna, who graduated with honors from St. Scholastica High School in Chicago, more than met that requirement through her involvement with a variety of service projects, including volunteering at the Chicago Food Depository and mentoring high school and grade school students of Asian-American descent.
Rominna has made the most of her time at DePaul, which she says has been an amazing experience. In addition to her outstanding work in the classroom, Rominna studied for four months in Budapest, Hungary, as part of DePaul’s Study Abroad Program. She’s also honing her leadership and networking skills as a member of DePaul’s chapter of Alpha Kappa Psi, a professional business fraternity.
The Gates Millennium Scholars Program has helped make the dreams of a college degree a reality for thousands of students of color from economically disadvantaged backgrounds like Rominna. More than 12,000 students from low-income backgrounds have been awarded about $400 million in scholarships since the program began in 1999.
I appreciate the generosity and the vision of the Gates Millennium Scholarship Program. I am delighted that seven students from the program have chosen to study at DePaul, where Rominna has undoubtedly encountered students much like herself—motivated, bright and eager to improve the world.