By Allison Plake
An accomplished graduate of Southern Methodist University, Luisa Del Rosal, is taking on new ventures as the Executive Director of the Tower Center for Political Studies. She has also been named the executive director of the Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center, a division of Dedman College.
As the first female, Hispanic executive director for the Tower Center, she hopes to raise awareness against cultural stereotypes and provide an inviting platform for the SMU community and the public to discuss difficult topics.
“I am excited and ready for the challenge but I also feel a great deal of responsibility to prove that women can do this, and that we can support each other in the process,” said Del Rosal, who was named to both positions on Aug. 10.
Born in Chihuahua, Mexico, Del Rosal, 30, has a dynamic cultural background that she said influenced her time at SMU. Having an SMU bachelor’s degrees in political science and sociology and an SMU master’s degree in higher education policy and leadership prepared her for her new position.
Bora Laci, Program Coordinator of the Tower Center, began working there in February. She thinks that Del Rosal will “take both centers to a whole new level with her skills and past experiences.”
Del Rosal has held several positions at SMU, including the Cox School of Business, and has devoted her time to nonprofit organizations around the Dallas area. While the purpose of the Tower Center is to promote the study of politics and international affairs among undergraduates, the Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center focuses on the economic relationship between Texas, the U.S. and Mexico.
“I praise Mission for their vision to create this action-oriented policy center at SMU and for being a visionary for businesses to lead the way,” said Del Rosal.
Del Rosal’s journey to SMU as an undergraduate came by taking a “total leap of faith,” as her father convinced her to look into the programs offered.
“We came to visit SMU one hot July afternoon and fell in love with it,” Del Rosal said of her visit to the campus in 2004. “I never thought that I would attend school in the U.S. but the opportunity presented itself and I never looked back.”
Coming from a conservative, Hispanic family, Del Rosal said she faced many challenges as a 17 year old in the United States.
“Coming to SMU was a culture shock. What made the transition better for me was the amazing faculty at SMU,” said Del Rosal. “I was the only person in my family living outside of Mexico and I was breaking the paradigms of family life by making this decision.”
During her time at SMU, Del Rosal worked as a diversity recruiter, helping students discover career opportunities outside of the stereotypes they carried with them.
“Some students only thought that success was defined as being a lawyer or doctor. To be able to break some of those barriers as a young Hispanic female is empowering,” she said.
In her previous position at the Cox School of Business, Del Rosal acquired skills necessary to carry out oversight of new global partners for the Latino Leadership Initiative as the Director of Strategy and International Affairs.
“There is a way that business can lead the way in hard conversations about race and ethnicity as well as how public policies can be changed by world business,” Del Rosal said.
She has been a positive light for those that work closely with her even in her prior position as the Director of Program and External Affairs of the Tower Center.
“I’ve been lucky enough to work for her for three years now and she has been a valuable mentor to me. She brings a lot of energy and she has a lot of ideas on expanding the Center and its reach,” said Karly Hanson, Communication Coordinator at the Tower Center.