Michele Bobadilla is a native Dallasite who believes passionately in her community and in the power of its people to effect change. Ms. Bobadilla demonstrates her commitment and civic responsibility daily through her active involvement in education initiatives, civic boards, and volunteer organizations. Her involvement spans thirty-six years. As an advocate, educator, and community volunteer, she exemplifies the best in all of us! Ms. Bobadilla’s openness and generous spirit coupled with her dedication, perseverance, organizational skills and leadership have garnered widespread community support. Michele’s years of advocacy, community service and leadership have opened doors to higher education for thousands of students. By leveling the playing field, she has ensured access and equity through opportunity and empowerment.
Her desire to serve as a catalyst for change for the betterment of the community-at-large is a tremendous asset. When she is determined to make something happen, she is able to energize and mobilize people into action. She champions higher education for others by promoting access and equity through extensive outreach and community partnerships forged with community based organizations. “Ms. Bobadilla has a lifelong commitment to empower young people with opportunities. To make this outcome possible, she serves as a role model, advocate, and mentor,” stated Hector M. Flores, former National President, League of United Latin American Citizens. Actively engaging the Greater Dallas/Fort Worth metro area by volunteering evening and weekend hours to organizations offering opportunities for growth and lifelong learning; serving on state councils; and working with national boards to affect change underscore her passion for developing a pipeline of educated students that will change the world - this will be one of her greatest accomplishments.
Ms. Bobadilla established the Society of 100 Endowed Scholars’ Fund in cooperation with the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and community partners to ensure an educational legacy for the Greater Dallas metro area students pursuing a higher education. As chair of the Stars on the Rise Scholarship Program, through collaborative partnerships, she raised over $4.7.million dollars in 2012. As a result, 273 students of all ethnic backgrounds were awarded substantial scholarships in order to pursue their dreams of a higher education. Michele also served as co-chair for the Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s scholarship program in order to help them grow and forge vital partnerships that will benefit area students. In recognition of her community efforts and advocacy on behalf of students at the Irma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School, the state’s first public/private school, Carmyn Neely, former Executive Director, Foundation for the Education of Young Women, said “Michele has been a loyal supporter. Not only has she provided financial support for our underprivileged young women to pursue their college dreams, she has also served as Chairperson of the Advisory Council for eight years. Michele has shared her leadership capabilities as well as her empathy for this initiative.”
Ms. Bobadilla has served as a Board of Director on thirty-five boards of organizations providing vital services to the community-at-large, and she has actively maintained her civic/community involvement by serving on over fifty committees addressing the needs of the community. Her involvement underscores her commitment to making things happen for others. She has always remarked about her good fortune in having mentors who nurtured, guided, and provided the support needed to succeed in this world. Her life’s work as an advocate, mentor, and volunteer, has made many dreams become reality for the students and families she has touched throughout her volunteer commitments.
As Co-chair of the Latina Living Legend Award in 2010, Michele helped this women’s organization raise over $20,000 for their endowment. The organization’s endowment annually awards grants to non-profit, community based organizations that promote educational and employment opportunities for women and girls. At that time, Ann Minnis remarked, “I have been privileged to work closely with Michele Bobadilla over the past 15 years and most recently as Co-chair of the Hispanic 100 Latina Living Legend Award. I have marveled at her untiring commitment to improve the lives of those in our community needing a hand up. A top priority has been her leadership in raising substantial funds which have and continue to give hope and opportunity to thousands of metroplex residents over the years. Michele is a champion advocate to those she serves. She possesses a unique combination of professionalism, knowledge, interpersonal skills, personal integrity, and a strong commitment to her community. She is firmly grounded in the highest standard of personal and professional ethics.”
Her involvement as a board member with the Dallas Concilio spawned the creation of the Psyched out about Math and Science Program. This program was designed to expose, encourage, and provide hands-on opportunities in the fields of math, science, and technology to sixth grade girls. Knowing how pivotal the sixth grade is in the decision making process involved in academia and pre-college planning which begins in middle school, Psyched Out About Math and Science, has provided young girls with invaluable experiences by learning firsthand from females in the aforementioned fields of study. The girls’ mothers are also included as an important component in learning to support and nurture their daughters’ educational pursuits. “Through her involvement, Michele Bobadilla has worked tirelessly on weekends and evenings to foster the development of young Latinas. Her passion and enthusiasm are contagious – she inspires others to achieve more than thought possible,” Dr. Mary Hendrix, Vice President – Student Access and Success, Texas A & M University – Commerce.
As founder of University Crossroads – a partnership of colleges and universities in North Texas, she has been able to impact over 24,500 students annually through SAT Math Prep Classes and other vital college ready programs.. She forged this partnership with 69 area colleges, community based organizations, chambers of commerce, and school districts providing services that directly benefit students. “Michele has been instrumental in the development and implementation of college readiness and college access activities offered to students and parents on weeknights and evenings. She has provided leadership and talent in order to ensure students successfully transition from high school to college,” stated Dr. Liliana Valadez, former Executive Director, Dallas ISD College and Career Readiness Division. Through this assistance, students have increased their math score by 90+ points. As a result, some borderline students have been able to accept athletic and academic scholarships that were just out of reach because of their initial scores. This community outreach program has had a tremendous impact on students and is popular among parents and teachers seeking assistance for them. These classes are offered on week nights and weekends in order to accommodate students’ busy schedules. Numerous community partners have joined in financially supporting this initiative serving the Greater Dallas/Fort Worth area. Barbara Merkle, Director of Admissions, Midwestern State University commented as follows. ”Michele Bobadilla has been instrumental in organizing universities, community based organizations, and chambers of commerce to participate in endeavors that promote changing the college going culture in Texas. She believes that even with limited resources that convincing students and mostly first generation students that if you raise the bar and provide the support, students will rise to your expectations. She is changing the college going culture and making access to higher education attainable.”
As Vice Chair of the National League of United Latin American Citizens’ Education Commission, Ms. Bobadilla was able to impact policies and raise awareness of the educational needs of Latino students in the PK-20 pipeline. She served as Co-Chair of the Texas Education Summit and worked on the California Education Summit held at UCLA.
Through her service on the Board of Directors for the Dallas Summer Musicals, Ms. Bobadilla has been instrumental in providing students with the experience of a live musical performance. For many, this experience has been transformative!
Michele has received countless honors throughout her illustrious career as an educator, mentor and advocate. This May, she will receive a Doctor of Letters. D. Litt. (hc) from Texas A & M University – Commerce. This honorary doctorate is only one of twenty-nine awarded in the university’s 124 year history. This honor is bestowed upon those who have made an indelible mark in the profession in service to others.
One of her most recent honors was the 2012 Woman of Distinction Award from the Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce; 2011 Martha H. Salmon Leadership Award presented by the Southwestern Regional College Board; the 2010 Ultimate Latina – Community Service Award from the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in recognition of her leadership and service in the field of education by providing opportunity through access and equity. She was also selected as the 2010 Outstanding Woman in Texas Government in Community Involvement and was recognized by Governor Rick Perry for her leadership and service to others. Additionally, she was honored with the Latino Leaders magazine 2010 Maestro Award for Community Service. Michele was induction into the Dallas’ Woodrow Wilson High School Hall of Fame. Michele was the first Latino/a in the school’s storied history to receive this honor. She joins the ranks of Trammel Crow, Ruth Sharp Altshuler, Buddy Minyard, Congressman Lt. Col. Samuel Johnson, Attorney General Jim Mattox, and Heisman Trophy winners Davey O’Brien and Tim Brown to name just a few of the schools’ Hall of Fame honorees.
Among the most notable honors she has received are the following: Southern Methodist University’s Profiles in Leadership Award, 2010; Commencement Speaker at Texas A & M University – Commerce, 2009; Hispanic 100 President’s Award, 2008; GDHCC La Cima Leadership Award, 2008; Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s President’s Award, 2008; City of Grand Prairie Historical Commission Medallion for Outstanding Service and Contributions, 2008; Ebby Rose of Distinction, presented by Ebby Halliday for enriching the lives of others through volunteerism, 2006; The Maura Award, women helping women, 2005; National LULAC Woman of the Year, 2004; The President’s Call to Service Award, Corporation for National and Community Service, 2004; Outstanding Star of Texas, Texas Bank and The Fort Worth Club, 2004; The Great Women of Texas, Most Influential Women honoree, JP Morgan Chase and the Fort Worth Business Press, 2003; Raymond Telles Award for Excellence in Education, highest national award given by National LULAC, 2003; Michele Bobadilla Bridge to Excellence Scholarship, established by UT Arlington President Dr. Robert E. Witt to honor her leadership and community outreach efforts, 2002; Induction into the National LULAC Women’s Hall of Fame, 2002; and possibly most dear to her is the H. Ross Perot Excellence in Teaching Award she received in 1986 for the incredible strides made with the limited English speaking students she taught at Skyline High School in Dallas.
Michele credits her family, her mentors, and her community for cultivating and nurturing her involvement and passion for education, community service, and advocacy. Michele is the personification of leadership and inclusion through service to others. She is a servant leader.
Education is a game changer. When preparation meets opportunity, the playing field is leveled and one's educational landscape is transformed for generations. HSF provides such an opportunity.