People connect at the intersection of fun, intelligence and the greater good. Development work is about telling that story. I've been doing it all along.
The power of imagery can change lives. That was certainly the case for Arnaldo López '87, who left Puerto Rico for Lewisburg, Pa., then moved on to New York City and the world of theater, all because of one arresting photo.
The longtime development officer at Pregones/Puerto Rican Traveling Theater says that he's only half-joking about ending up in Lewisburg because of an "idealized pastoral" scene of the University that he saw in his high school's career-planning office. A scholarship and the desire for something different from his home country also drew him to Bucknell.
Just 17 when he started classes, López majored in English, with a minor in studio art. He hosted "unpopular" music shows on WVBU, with a "polyglot" of genres from political hardcore punk to ambient instrumental, and fondly remembers a "Bucknell underground," where arts and humanities, international culture and student activism thrived in the Reagan-era 1980s.
It was through that network, and later as an apprentice to artist Barnard Taylor at The Press of Appletree Alley, that López fell in love with the town and the people of Lewisburg - and with printing and design.
He first connected with what is now called Bucknell's Office of Publications, Print & Mail to create a poster for a student theater production and later became its first in-house graphic designer.
He also earned a master's degree, translating works by Puerto Rican gay writer Manuel Ramos Otero into English. That work led him to a Ph.D. program at New York University. He then followed the buzz about a theater ensemble in the Bronx that had newly adapted one of Ramos Otero's stories.
It was Pregones, where he found "kindred spirits, champions of literature and performance with political bite."
Now on staff for 17 years, López handles fundraising and is Pregones' managing director.
He sees a clear through-line from Bucknell to Pregones. "People connect at the intersection of fun, intelligence and the greater good," he explains. "Development work is about telling that story. I've been doing it all along."