Clara Rodríguez, Ph.D.
Photo by Chris Taggart

Clara Rodríguez, Ph.D., professor of sociology and former dean of Fordham College of Liberal Studies, has been named to Hispanic Business magazine’s annual list of 100 most influential Hispanics in the country.

Rodríguez was listed as one of the most influential Hispanics in the field of education.

“I was absolutely shocked to be nominated, let alone be selected,” Rodríguez said. “It is quite an honor to be recognized in this way, but that is not why I do what I do.”

The magazine, which published the list in its October issue, highlights Rodríguez’s work as a consultant for the television shows Dora the Explorer and Sesame Street and notes that she has written “more than 50 articles on Hispanics in the United States and most recently co-authored Culture and Commerce of Publishing in the 21st Century.” See the article “Five Fordham Faculty Members Win National Book Award.”

“Dr. Rodríguez is a … very distinguished candidate whom the team felt deserved to be recognized,” said Michael Caplinger, an editor at Hispanic Business.

This is the second honor for Rodríguez in the past few weeks. On Oct. 1, the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities announced that Culture and Commerce (Stanford Business Books, 2007), which she co-authored with Fordham colleagues Al Greco, Ed.D., professor of marketing, Robert M. Wharton, Ph.D., area chair of management systems, had won a National Jesuit Book Award.

Over the years, Rodríguez has done extensive research on Hispanics and the media, publishing 10 books, including Heroes, Lovers and Others: The Story of Latinos in Hollywood (Smithsonian Institution Press, 2004) and Latin Looks: Images of Latinas and Latinos in U.S. Media (Westview Press, 1997).

“I would say that Heroes, Lovers and Others: The Story of Latinos in Hollywood is the most influential book I’ve written because it is a different way of thinking about film, American history, American culture and their place in the international arena,” Rodríguez said.

Her research led to her consulting work on Dora the Explorer, when the show was being developed, and Sesame Street. As a consultant, Rodríguez was called on to offer advice on everything from the music used on the shows to story lines and characters.

Hispanic Business has been publishing its 100 Most Influential Hispanics list since 1983.

Included in this year’s list are NASA astronauts Miguel Lopez-Alegria and John Olivas; New York Mets general manager Omar Minaya; and America Ferrara, star of the hit television show Ugly Betty.

Rodríguez is the recipient of Fordham’s Distinguished Teaching Award in Social Sciences and was elected to the governing board of the American Sociological Association earlier this year.


Gina Vergel is Senior Director of Communications. She oversees the digital news coverage, public relations, and social media for the university. Before joining Fordham in 2007, Gina worked as a reporter for the Home News Tribune, and The Ridgewood News, where she won Society of Professional Journalist (New Jersey chapter) awards for breaking news and feature writing, respectively. She can be reached at [email protected] or (646) 579-9957.