Rosa Maria Escude de Findlay


"Mrs. de Findlay’s service to the Latino/Hispanic population of Iowa represents her altruistic willingness to assist others in a variety of capacities. She goes where the need is no matter how difficult the situation or demands on her time."
—Dr. Victoria L. Robinson, 1997

Rosa Maria Escudé de Findlay of Cedar Falls has been serving the Latino population of Iowa and working to advance the understanding of and appreciation for Latino/Hispanic culture throughout the state for 35 years. After moving to Iowa in 1964, de Findlay established networks, programs, and contacts to assist the Latino/Hispanic population in becoming U.S. citizens and in understanding U.S. culture, often times serving as a mentor to immigrants to the U.S. In 1997, de Findlay served as an observer for three days when 156 workers were detained by the Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) in Newton. While recognizing the authority of the law, de Findlay never forgot the human emotions and struggles of those who were detained, and she performed the role of translator and ombudsperson for many Latino/Hispanic immigrants. She ensured that they understood their rights, their lawyers, and their judge and had adequate facilities. In addition to her efforts in easing the pain of deportation, de Findlay volunteers up to nine hours per time of service as an interpreter for Black Hawk County hospitals, police headquarters, and various agencies. She also gives educational presentations, workshops, and programs about the Latino/Hispanic culture and has served on the Lt. Governor's Diversity Committee. She serves on the Cedar Falls Human Rights Commission and is a member of the Dubuque Archdiocese Board of Education. De Findlay has served as a Spanish teacher, at all grade levels, for the University of Northern Iowa at Price Laboratory School for 35 years. Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1936, de Findlay raised two children, who are following in her footsteps as community volunteers. She was inducted into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame in 1999.