Tompkins Cortland Community College

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Ignacio Saldana

Shaping reality out of dreamsIgnacio Saldana

In high school, Ignacio Saldana looked to basketball as a way out of what he describes as "the mess we were in." With a single mother and six younger siblings living in the Bronx, this was not an uncommon dream. Even calling it a dream does an injustice to the reality of the need.

The other reality: Professional basketball is not a possibility for any but the most preternaturally talented, and even they can easily fall away from the dream. Give credit then to the 6'4" Iggy (as he is known on campus) for recognizing early enough that he was, in his own words, "not very good."

It was a realization that put him on track for a truly promising reality. It’s a reality with humble beginnings. Instead of attending college right out of high school, Iggy worked at a McDonald's to help his mother pay bills. But there he discovered another reality.

"I learned how important an education was to one’s success," he says. "Without one I would be doomed, no matter how well I could make a Big Mac."

Attracted by the Tompkins Cortland residence halls and the prospect of a "“real" college experience, Iggy applied to the College. If you have the opportunity to meet him, or spend five minutes in his presence, you will know that while the rest certainly is not history, Iggy's days of slinging Big Macs are firmly ensconced in the past.

He's finishing his term as Student Government Association President this year, having also served as a Network Peer Mentor, a Panther Welcome Crew Team Leader, and in a variety of other campus leadership roles. He is as bright and engaging a young person as you will find, and it would be no surprise to hear that he plans to pursue a career in public policy, politics, law, business, and societal reform, with the added caveat, "when I find a field that encompasses all of these and more I will get back to you."