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Graduate Endows Scholarship to Honor Mentor Who Helped Her Succeed

Giving News

Darrell Rocha

Communication's Darrell Rocha, a favorite adviser among students, is now an endowment honoree.

Scholarships helped Katina Johnson make it through the University. So did Darrell Rocha.

Now Johnson, BJ ’95, has found a way to express her appreciation for both — by endowing a scholarship honoring the mentor who helped her succeed. “From the very beginning Darrell was there,” she says. “He’s like a second dad to me.”

As assistant dean of student affairs in the College of Communication, Rocha, BA ’81, is known for keeping his door open — and his office stocked with treats. He coaches students in the life skills they’ll need beyond college, even arranging informal sessions on subjects such as etiquette. The College of Communication recently honored Rocha with its Robert C. Jeffrey Benefactor Award for his relentless dedication to and compassion for students, as well as his work as an ambassador for the college throughout the state.

As for Johnson, before she came to UT no one in her family had gone to college. Her parents couldn’t afford to send her to school, but scholarships made it possible. Today she lives in San Francisco and manages an online support team for Google. And the Darrell D. Rocha Scholarship in Communication is helping other first-generation students from underprivileged backgrounds to make their own mark — just as she has.

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