A Full-Circle Journey


“This school has been a second home. I can’t wait to help other students like me find their way and find family.”

— Isabel Hidalgo ’20

Isabel Hildalgo Holding Diploma


VISION: To help other first-generation students at FAU find their footing — and their academic passion.

SUPPORT: The Kelly/Strul Emerging Scholars Program

Isabel Hidalgo aspired to be the first in her family to graduate from college. Knowing she needed financial aid in order to pursue her dreams, the Cooper City native strived to attain good grades in high school.

Her work paid off, and Isabel was selected to join the first cohort of FAU’s Kelly/Strul Emerging Scholars Program. Established by Boca Raton philanthropists Aubrey and Sally Strul and FAU President John Kelly and First Lady Carolyn Kelly, the program provides full scholarships to first-generation Florida students.

In May, Isabel became the first Kelly/Strul Emerging Scholar to graduate. With the coronavirus putting the University’s main commencement ceremony on hold, FAU staff brought the graduation to her, and she received her diploma in front of her professors and peers. Looking to the future, Isabel plans to stay at FAU to pursue her master’s in history and mentor other first-generation students, bringing her journey full circle.


Charting new courses. Beginning new traditions. And rising in the ranks.

At this milestone moment in FAU’s growth and achievement, your philanthropic partnership matters more now than ever.
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