Professional impact

Originally from Los Angeles, Rick Rodriguez was recruited by Northern Arizona University to play basketball for the Lumberjacks. On the court, he brought the team success as a four-year player and team captain who would eventually play one professional season in Puerto Rico. Off the court, Rodriguez was a rising star in the business college, earning a degree in accounting.

After graduating in 1984, Rodriguez moved back to Los Angeles, where he began working in the entertainment industry. After 27 years in the business working with giants like MGM, Turner Entertainment Company, and Columbia Tristar Television, he accepted a job to become the vice president of Finance and Accounting for Sony Pictures Television International Production.

“I work in the division that oversees international television production,” Rodriguez explains. “We produce local language programming all over the world, primarily in Europe. I oversee the finance and accounting for that specific group."

The nature of his job means that Rodriguez travels to dozens of countries in a year. Despite this, he has found the time to return to Flagstaff to share his knowledge and expertise with students and faculty. Rodriguez says his time at the university was formative, and that he hopes current students have the same experience.

“I was able to grow professionally in the College of Business and mature as an adult,” Rodriguez says. “I brought back a lot of positive experiences. It's a small school, a very intimate school, and that's what I needed.”

Expanding his legacy

Impressed by the transformative experiences he received at Northern Arizona University, Rodriguez decided to give back through a scholarship for current student-athletes in The W.A. Franke College of Business.

“I was fortunate and blessed to be able to have a scholarship,” Rick says. “I came to learn that the people here really had my best interest at heart. I was thinking back to when I was here, and I thought, ‘Wow, college can be expensive,’” Rick explains. “I wanted to help a student-athlete and give back to help them out.”

In August 2013, Rodriguez returned to the university to meet with one of the recipients of his scholarship, senior marketing major Gaellan Bewernick, who is a forward on the men’s basketball team. The two had quite a bit to talk about, and Rodriguez says such conversations reaffirm why he gives back, and what makes him love Northern Arizona University.

"Hearing Gaellan talk makes it all worthwhile,” Rodriguez says. “Not only has he received the scholarship, he's thinking, ‘Hey, I want to be in a position at one point in my life to do the same thing.’ I think that’s what it’s all about.”