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Former CSU President Returns to Share Experiences
From Alicia Espinal-Mesa’s Facebook

On Tuesday, Oct. 27, the Caribbean Students Union (CSU) welcomed back former president Jerrod Ridgway to talk about his experiences after graduation. A 2015 grad, Ridgway has accomplished a great deal after being away from the Evergreen campus for five months. Currently, he is a financial analyst for Wells Fargo National Bank, a feat in itself after Ridgway changed his major from biology to finance during his sophomore year. By night, Ridgway is the Chief Financial Officer for the young Baltimore based non-profit organization “To Love Children.” The organization’s mission is to “educate all marginalized girls affected by a cycle of poverty.” In addition to these successes this past August, Ridgway was added to the Baltimore Sun’s 6th annual 10 People to Watch Under 30 list.


Ridgway has always valued education highly, he said. His mother was a teacher, in fact his elementary school teacher, while his family was living in Jamaica. She instilled in him the values of education, and constantly pushed him to do better in school.It was Ridgway’s mother’s assertion that he “pay what gifts you’ve been given forward” that caused him to look for non-profit organizations that work with educating the youth in Baltimore.


When Ridgway moved from Montego Bay, Jamaica, to Baltimore at 8 years old, his father had already been working here for several years. Ridgway admitted that he was not happy to be moving to Baltimore, “Being from Jamaica, a tropical country, Baltimore is not my first choice. Personally would’ve went to Miami, San Diego, Texas…But my dad chose Baltimore, his parents chose Baltimore. So my mom chose Baltimore. I was dragged to Baltimore.”


After elementary school, Ridgway had all of his education in Baltimore. In addition to being a Loyola University alumnus, he is also a graduate from Saint Ignatius Loyola Academy and Loyola Blakefield High School.


During his speech, Ridgway inspired students with his views on education, changing majors and what should drive students in their education. On education, he asserted that it was the catalyst to his success. He had always been intelligent, he said, but it was his work ethic and desire to go beyond the bare necessities that pushed him to be the successful man he is today. He did not find this desire until late in high school, but after he did, he was able to accomplish great things.


During the question and answer portion of the keynote speech, a student asked Ridgway how she should go about telling her parents that she’s changing her major from something very different than she had originally planned. Ridgway sighed and said, “To be very candid, it doesn’t matter what your parents think because they’re not going to be the ones living your life…Your parents only want what’s best for you.”
Finally, Ridgway noted what should drive students in their everyday lives. “There is never going to be enough awards, there is never going to be enough recognition, there is never going to be enough money in your bank account to validate your existence as a person,” he told the audience. “You’ve got to focus on what you really want, and just go for it, it’s really that simple.”

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Former CSU President Returns to Share Experiences