Magazine Feature / People

Recent grad credits Women’s College with changing life

“Without the Women’s College, I would be in the ghetto and maybe not here at all.”

Rhonda Richmond (BA ’03, MA ’07) isn’t exaggerating. Hers is a shocking story: in an abusive marriage, hiding money in a sock behind a loose board, watching family members die from drugs and guns; all the while believing that, against the odds, she could achieve more.

“My inspiration was my daughter,” says Richmond, whose daughter, Angela, was born while Richmond was in a bad marriage.

After saving enough to leave and hide, Richmond began a new life.

“One day, I was driving and I heard an ad on the radio about DU’s Women’s Vision scholarship at the University of Denver,” Richmond remembers. “I took the test for the scholarship and then I went home and tried to forget all about it.”

A few weeks later, Richmond learned that she had won the $50,000 scholarship to DU’s Women’s College. That was 1999. She enrolled in communication courses at DU. Today, Richmond holds a BA and an MA from the University of Denver, and she will begin a Ed.D. program this fall at Argosy University. She has published five books and her ultimate goal is to help students like herself achieve against the odds.

“Rhonda is the most tenacious human being,” says retired DU instructor Bobby Wright, whom Richmond considers a mentor. “She really wants to learn. If something like a capstone proposal isn’t quite right, she will work that thing and work that thing until it is just right.”

Richmond says that she has learned to rely on new friendships, and she’s even grateful to the toughest teachers she had.

“I had teachers who wouldn’t back down,” she says. “They were on my back saying, ‘This is not good enough.’ It was so painful but they helped me to understand that I needed to step it up. Otherwise, I would have done mediocre work and it would not have changed my life.”


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