Cor Story: Double Major Overcomes Odds, Pursues Dream of Teaching

"Cor" Story: Double Major Overcomes Odds, Pursues Dream of Teaching Theology

 

The University of Dallas Cor Fund provides scholarships to hundreds of UD students. We are sharing some of their stories. Donations to the Cor Fund come from alumni, parents and friends of UD.

Camille Salazar, BA '14, grew up singing with her family. When she was 11, they moved from the Philippines to the Dallas area, where her father had been hired as a choir director.

The Salazars serve their parish in Mesquite together as the choir and sing at weddings and other events. Recently, they held a benefit concert at their church to raise funds for those affected by Hurricane Yolanda in the Philippines. Salazar has known since she was a junior in high school, however, that her career path would be different from her father's: she wanted to teach theology.

"Little did I know, however, that in order to major in theology, I needed to attend a Catholic university," said Salazar. "This immediately became a problem, as I knew my family didn't have the financial means to afford a private university. Nevertheless, I knew this was my passion, and so I did everything I could to make my dream a reality."

Salazar applied to the University of Dallas and was accepted, but she still had no idea how to go about paying the tuition.

"I was the first in my family to go to a university," she explained. "I just didn't know how any of that worked."

Finally, Salazar appealed to her high school Spanish teacher, who put her in touch with people at UD who could help her find and apply for the scholarships and financial aid she needed.

It hasn't been an easy four years for Salazar. In the beginning, she had to commute from her family's home in Mesquite. Because the Salazars only had one vehicle, this involved using public transportation, which, before UD got its own DART Orange Line stop in 2012, could take two hours or more. But she persevered, and she credits the people at UD for helping her find the courage and spirit to keep going.

"Someone invested in me; that's why I was able to come to UD," said Salazar. "Someone believed in my abilities to do well and to succeed here; that's why I was able to believe in myself the way people here do. No one achieves their goals on their own the community at UD taught me that."

This year, Salazar, a double major in Spanish and theology, is an RA and lives on campus. She has helped blaze the trail for her family, as well: one of her younger brothers also attends UD.

"Education goes beyond a degree it forms your character, who you are as a person," said Salazar. "UD has done that for me. I can't even tell you how much I love this school."

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