Spring Convocation Features Luis Ubinas '81

At Spring Convocation on May 6, members of the Class of 1961 and students from grades 5 – 12 were treated to a musical performance of the Allegro from the Concerto in B Minor for Four Violins by Antonio Vivaldi, played by Oliver Band ’13, Daniel Cramer ’13, Michael Savarese ’13, and Antony Zeng ’13. Then, Luis Ubiñas ’81, P ’13, ’15, who was celebrating his 30th reunion, spoke about his experiences. Mr. Ubiñas has been the President of the Ford Foundation since 2008. A native of the South Bronx, Mr. Ubiñas came to Collegiate for high school on a scholarship and said that although he didn’t get the best grades in his class, he nonetheless went on to succeed in college and beyond. He said that your career is not defined by whether you get A’s or B’s in school, but by your character. More important than grades are how hard you work and how loyal you are to your friends. Mr. Ubiñas said that you can live “a life of infinite possibilities or just a life” and it is up to you to decide which you will do.

Mr. Ubiñas went on to discuss the Ford Foundation and its mission. The Ford Foundation gives away $500 million annually both domestically and abroad. It encourages those who are most at need to become empowered in order to be able to help themselves and to have a voice in society. Mr. Ubiñas traveled to Lagos, Nigeria and saw the vast settlements built on lagoons where people live in extreme poverty. One’s first instinct would be to help with food and other such aid, but the Ford Foundation instead approaches the problem by asking “why do these people have so few rights?” and is working to empower them so that they can demand good schools, housing, and other necessities. The Ford Foundation is fighting for equal access and equal outcomes. Mr. Ubiñas told the boys that one day they will be helping to run the country with those they are sitting next to right now and that “everyone has a responsibility. I want all of you to take your Collegiate education and use it to make a difference in the world.”  To read his entire speech, click here.