Larrichio Scholarship Recognizes Meritorious MALAS Student

October 29, 2014

Jeremy Falson, a master's student in the Latin American Studies (LAS) program, is the 2014-2015 recipient of the Mafalda 'Muffie' Larrichio Scholarship. Established by Larry Larrichio and his wife Alida Davila-Larrichio, the scholarship recognizes Larry's mother, Mafalda, and her dedication to education. The LAII annually undertakes the honor of bestowing the award upon academically meritorious LAS master's students.

Larry Larrichio earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in LAS from the University of New Mexico (UNM) in 2000 and 2007, respectively. In addition to being an alum twice-over and establishing the Mafalda 'Muffie' Larrichio Scholarship fund, he also holds the title of LAII Research Associate, a position reserved for independent researchers who conduct individual or collaborative research at UNM.

In remembering his mother's history, he shares that "Mafalda 'Muffie' Larrichio was the daughter of Italian parents who migrated to the United States in 1913. As a young girl she attended elementary school in Alpha, New Jersey. In 1931, at age 14, she was forced to leave school and go to work in the textile mills of Easton, Pennsylvania, in order to help her parents support younger siblings. She arose each morning at 5:00 a.m., and after a breakfast of bread, coffee, and an occasional fruit, she would be off to work her typical eight to ten hour day. It was frightening for a young girl to leave home in the dark, wee hours of the morning, and so her mother would frequently escort her to the bus stop. She would usually get home after dark as well, with little time for play or other childhood experiences. Muffie loved school and lamented the fact that she could not continue her education beyond the seventh grade. Nevertheless, she was always there for her children, within whom she instilled the value and importance of education, always encouraging and supporting them in their educational pursuits."

By establishing the scholarship in her name, Larry and Alida ensured that Mafalda's ongoing commitment and appreciation for education live on through the dedication of MALAS students.

This year's recipient, Jeremy Falson, is in his fifth semester of the LAS program with concentrations in Political Science and Sociology. Falson is completing a master's thesis on the development of human capital in Mexico, with a specific emphasis in the automobile industry. Having been notified of his award, he appreciatively observed that, "With continued support from the LAII and families like [the Larrichios], I am confident that I, along with other MALAS students before and after me, will be part of the collective wave that will exact positive change in the world." His comment emphasizes the importance of scholarships such as the Mafalda 'Muffie' Larrichio Scholarship for MALAS students, and signifies their far-reaching impact.