Laura I. Rendón earned a Ph.D. in higher education administration from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She holds a M.A. in counseling and guidance and psychology from Texas A&M University-Kingsville. She earned a B.A. in English and journalism from the University of Houston and holds an associate of arts degree from San Antonio College. Rendón also attended Laredo Community College.
Rendón is Professor of Higher Education in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Texas San Antonio. She is also Co-Director of the Center for Research and Policy in Education. From 2005-2009, Rendón served as Professor and Chair in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Iowa State University, College of Human Sciences.
As a research specialist on college preparation, persistence, and graduation of low-income, first-generation students, Rendón is also recognized as a thought leader in the field of contemplative education. She has been a keynote speaker at conferences such as GEAR UP, National Conference on Race and Ethnicity, National Association of College Admissions Counselors, International Conference on the First-Year College Experience, and International Conference on Research on Service Learning, among others. A native of Laredo, Texas, Rendón’s passion is assisting students who, like her, grew up in poverty with hopes and dreams but not knowing how to realize them. Rendón is credited with developing the theory of validation, which colleges and researchers have employed as a framework for working with and affirming low-income students. Rendón is an active scholar whose research has been published in key education research journals. She is also the author of Sentipensante (Sensing/Thinking) Pedagogy: Educating for Wholeness, Social Justice and Liberation. Moreover, she is co-editor of books and monographs including: Transforming the First Year of College for Students of Color, Educating a New Majority, Introduction to American Higher Education, and Racial and Ethnic Diversity in Higher Education ASHE Reader.
In 2013, the Texas Diversity Council recognized her Among the Most Powerful and Influential Women in Texas. Rendón has been the recipient of grants focused on student access and success from organizations such as TG, The Lumina Foundation, and the Ford Foundation. She is one of the founders and former Board Chair of the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships (Washington, DC), focused on providing access to college for low- income students. She has also served on the Board of Trustees for Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. Further, Rendón has designed and coordinated the yearly Latino/a Student Success Institute for the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education.