School of Arts & Sciences
Class of 1972
So much of what I have been able to do and be professionally has been due to the education and values I received from CNR. I am especially thankful for the fellowship I was given to complete my BA, the wise guidance I always received from Sister Dorothy Ann, and the support of all my professors at the Psychology Department, especially Dr. Eileen Canty
A year after the revolutionary Ché Guevara died in her home country, Pilar Ramirez SAS’72, from Bolivia, South America, arrived at The College of New Rochelle. The affect that his visit had on her social conscious continued while she was at CNR, and still does today as a pioneer in microfinance in Bolivia.
“So much of what I have been able to do and be professionally has been due to the education and values I received from CNR. I am specially thankful for the fellowship I was given to complete my BA, the wise guidance I always received from Sister Dorothy Ann and the support of all my professors at the Psychology Department, specially Dr. Eileen Canty,” Pilar said.
Pilar started her career in psychology, the field she majored in at CNR, although once she found that some of her patients were struggling financially, she saw an economic solution to bringing about social change. She later attended Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, where she identified the field of microfinance as a solution to the widespread poverty she sought to change.
Pilar founded the Center for Promoting Economic Initiatives (FIE), which provides loans to small businesses, and proved a successful model with a 99 percent repayment record. Today, as Banco FIE, it has 124,000 credit clients, a loan portfolio of $310 million, and savings deposits of $227 million (The Center for Financial Inclusion).
In a recent article published by The Center for Financial Inclusion in Washington D.C., Pilar said, “Loan after loan, we have followed our clients’ growth, helping them expand their businesses, buy houses, educate their children and get access to health services.” “Microfinance in this country has contributed to social mobility and empowerment of its clients, there is no doubt in my mind.”