First-Generation College Student in Awe of Jesuit Education
May 12, 2014 – After José Madrid (C’14) visited Georgetown for the first time as a high school student he knew where he wanted to spend his undergraduate years.
“I was obsessed with the idea of Georgetown for a long time,” said the first-generation college student, who attended a summer program at the university in 2009. “There was an energy about the campus that I could not describe in words, but I knew it was where I belonged.”
Madrid, who received support from the Georgetown Scholarship Program (GSP), will graduate from Georgetown College next week with a degree in American Studies and a certificate in Latin American Studies.
The Denver native eventually plans to go to law school.
His grandfather emigrated in the 1940s during World War II from Mexico as a United States government-hired bracero who worked on the railroads and in the fields. His parents were formerly sharecroppers and farmers.
“I definitely don’t take for granted the fact that my parents didn’t have the ability to go pursue their educational dreams and then now I am,” said the Carroll Fellow and Baker Scholar. “Their humble background inspired me to pursue a career where I not only better myself but one where I can give back.”
Growing up, Madrid dreamed about going to college and wanted to continue his Jesuit education after attending Arrupe Jesuit High School in Denver.
I will walk away knowing that I am extremely proud to have inherited from Georgetown the … amazing people who are so well-rounded but are so dedicated to making society a better place, to pursuing their dreams and along that making great contributions."
—José Madrid (C'14)
Although he knew he would receive a solid undergraduate education in line with the Jesuit values he loved, Madrid didn’t realize he would also be part of a great community.
During his time at Georgetown, he’s met mentors and professors, such as Glavin, Katherine Benton-Cohen, associate professor of history whose classes proved inspirational; and Rev. Kevin O’Brien, S.J., vice president of mission and ministry, among others.
“I think the one thing that I didn’t realize coming in was the amazing fortune I was going to have of meeting some amazing people in the administration, faculty and [student body],” he said. “I will walk away knowing that I am extremely proud to have inherited from Georgetown the … amazing people who are so well-rounded but are so dedicated to making society a better place, to pursuing their dreams and along that making great contributions.”
Madrid stayed connected to his Latin American heritage by joining the Latin American Student Association and Ritmo y Sabor dance team.
He also served as co-chair of this year’s Jesuit Heritage Week, which celebrates the university’s Jesuit and Catholic identity.
Depth of Belief
“What makes [Jose] extraordinary is the depth and intensity of his belief,” says John Glavin, English professor and director of Georgetown’s Office of Fellowships, Awards and Research. “He doesn’t just have ideas and he doesn’t just have values. … It comes from something deeper than intelligence, deeper even in strong feeling, but from something that you would not wrong to call soul. And that’s manifested in everything he does.”
Madrid also showcased his passion for social justice as a volunteer at the Washington, D.C. women’s shelter Mt. Carmel House.
“During his time at Georgetown, he's been a mentor, confidante and advisor to fellow students [and] he takes that role very seriously, paving the way for future students to follow,” said Missy Foy (C’03), GSP director. “The day he crosses the graduation stage will be one of the happiest moments of my life and I'm not the only person who feels that way.”