When Duke’s Class of 2022 marches onto Brooks Field for the May 8 commencement ceremony, Jimmy Rodríguez will have a special fan in the stands; his mom, Stacy Jordan Rodríguez, who earned her degree from Duke in 1986.
Jimmy, who majored in computer science with minors in Spanish and psychology, was born and raised a Duke basketball fan. Stacy helped inspire Jimmy to attend Duke by sharing stories of her time in college. The pair from Dallas, Texas has always been close, but attending the same college has strengthened their bond. During Stacy's trips to visit Jimmy in Durham over the past four years, they would revisit spaces on campus together that were meaningful to her.
“She’s always been one of my biggest role models, so sharing the same alma mater is something that is really special for me. She paved the way for me to be where I am today, and I’m so glad that it’s at the school we both love,” said Jimmy.
The Rodríguezes achieved another milestone this year. Stacy attended men's basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s first Final Four appearance in 1986. When Stacy met Jimmy in New Orleans this March to watch Duke take on UNC, they watched his last Final Four together.
"We thought it would be so amazing if we could both go to the Final Four and kind of book-end Coach K's career at his first Final Four and his last Final Four and it's part of our shared Duke experience," said Stacy.
While the outcome wasn't what they were hoping for, the game stands out as one of their favorite moments.
"It was pretty surreal being there with my mom for game day. I’ve been to a lot of Duke basketball games over the last few years here, but that one was definitely at the top of the list of the coolest games I’ve ever been to. Being there for Coach K’s last game with my mom, who’s been a huge fan of Duke since she went here, was an experience that I’ll never forget," described Jimmy.
After celebrating his graduation with his family, Jimmy plans to move to Los Angeles, California where he landed a job working for Accenture. Similar to his mom, he knows he will look back on his Duke experience as the source of many of the fondest memories of his life.
“I feel like the overall Duke experience is really one that makes this place feel like home. I’ve met some of the most talented, incredibly smart people in the country who, on top of doing remarkable research or building things that I never could’ve imagined, are some of the nicest, most outgoing people, as well. I’ve made some of my best friends in the world here who I know will be there for me for the rest of my life.”