JOSÉ LUIS BEDOLLA ’92 AND LISA GARCÍA BEDOLLA ’92
Today, José Luis Bedolla is a business owner and patent-holding inventor — but earlier in life he was an undocumented student at Berkeley, the son of parents who didn’t go beyond elementary school. Ever mindful of his roots, he and his wife, Berkeley professor and alumna Lisa García Bedolla, have endowed a scholarship for undocumented students at their alma mater. “The roadblocks for students, particularly Dreamers, are so much greater than they were before,” says José Luis.
Lisa, a professor in the Graduate School of Education, agrees. As Cuban refugees, her parents had to leave everything behind. “These students manage to flourish in the most difficult of circumstances,” she says of undocumented students, noting that they often are the most in need of financial aid. “Rather than deporting them, we should be appreciating their contributions.”
The couple recently doubled their scholarship’s endowment, and they hope to serve as models for other Berkeley alumni to give back, noting that anyone can make a meaningful difference in the lives of others.
“It’s a small amount of money,” José Luis says. “It’s the symbolism that somebody thinks you are worth giving money to — you’re valued. You belong here. You’re part of the community here.”