Carlos Ripoll Endows José Martí Scholarship

Renowned Scholar and Philanthropist Supports Students Enrolled in the Humanities at the UM College of Arts & Sciences

Carlos Ripoll was one of the world’s leading scholars on José Martí, a legendary Cuban figure and important Latin American writer.

Carlos and Herminia Ripoll on their wedding day,
November 3, 1945.

Ripoll devoted his life to studying and writing about Martí. As a professor at Queen’s College, CUNY, Ripoll received grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and published extensively, well into his 80s.

Scores of Ripoll’s works – including manuscripts, books, papers, and pamphlets – are conserved in the Cuban Heritage Collection of the University of Miami Libraries.

“He wanted to make the education he had available to anyone,” said Fernando and Beatriz Jiménez of their dear friend Carlos Ripoll. Carlos and his wife Herminia (“Mina”) were close companions of the Jiménez family for nearly 30 years; the two couples bonded over their love of Spanish literature and culture.

So they were not surprised when the Ripolls left a bequest to establish the José Martí Scholarship for Students Enrolled in Humanities at the University of Miami College of Arts & Sciences. José Martí is renowned for his role in helping Cuba gain its independence from Spain, but also for his love of freedom and equality.   

Married for 65 years, Carlos and Mina shared many interests and had an affinity for Cuba. They met in the society clubs in Havana, before coming to the U.S. in the early 1960s. Carlos found a true companion in Mina, who readily helped him in all of his work, said Beatriz Jiménez. “She was always there for him.” This included copyediting, and helping him publish his works.

Spanish literature was just one of the loves of the Ripolls. Carlos came to UM for a master’s degree in French, but also spoke Russian, in addition to English and Spanish. After developing an interest in architecture, he designed and served as the builder of the high-rise where he and Mina lived. He enjoyed composing music, including writing a composition for the chorus of the famous Persian poem, The Rubaiyat

Because his interests were so varied, Ripoll chose to support the diverse humanities programs in UM’s College of Arts & Sciences.

According to Fernando Jiménez, “Carlos was a very humble man and preferred to inspire others.” 

Like Marti, the Ripolls will inspire future generations of students with the scholarship, created through their estate plans. 

This crucial gift comes at a time when there has been a decline in federal funding for the humanities. The Ripolls wanted to affirm the importance of the humanities to solving 21st century problems.

The José Martí Scholarship will begin aiding students pursuing a major in Modern Languages and Literatures, Philosophy, Religious Studies, Art, History, Anthropology, Classics and Theatre this academic year.

Powered by philanthropy and compelled by legacy-making alumni like Carlos Ripoll, the liberal arts and humanities will be academically stronger than ever for our new freshman class.

August 21, 2014