Dr. Antonia Pantoja Fellowship, Inc.

Developing Leaders of Integrity


In keeping with the legacy of Dr. Antonia Pantoja, the Dr. Antonia Pantoja Fellowship, Inc. advocates for a quality and accessible education for all students and promotes the development of Puerto Rican and Latino/a leaders of integrity.

Who We Are

Click Here to learn about our current Board of Directors.


Dr. Antonia Pantoja was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1922. An educator and social activist, Dr. Pantoja founded some of the longest lasting Puerto Rican institutions in the U.S. She also received the prestigious Medal of Freedom in 1996 from President Bill Clinton. Among her many contributions was the creation of ASPIRA in 1961, an organization that promotes the leadership development and academic success of Puerto Rican and Latino students. Dr. Pantoja envisioned a future role for the Aspirantes (ASPIRA graduates) as one of “giving back” to Puerto Rican and Latino youth who might also face challenges to achieving academic success.

In April of 2002 Dr. Pantoja spearheaded the founding of the Aspirante Alumni Fellowship, Inc. (AAF) but sadly passed away soon after. The AAF represented the culmination to an illustrious legacy which Dr. Pantoja had built over her lifetime of service and leadership. Recognizing the dismal state of educational attainment in the Puerto Rican and Latino community the AAF established the Dr. Antonia Pantoja Leadership Scholarship for students in their first or second year of college. As poor as the rates for college admission were for Puerto Rican and Latino students, the data showed that too few were able to continue their studies beyond the first year because of economic hardship.

In 2007, the AAF changed its name to the Dr. Antonia Pantoja Fellowship, Inc. (DAPF) and continued to award scholarships. From 2003 to 2008, we awarded 35 scholarships to students selected by Aspira affiliates. Students were selected because of their demonstrated leadership abilities and their commitment to community service.  The award is now $1,000 for each student and DAPF broadened its efforts to include other youth serving organizations selecting Puerto Rican and Latino recipients.

We see our role as helping to bridge the educational attainment gap so prevalent in the Puerto Rican and Latino community. In keeping with the legacy of Dr. Antonia Pantoja, we also see our role as promoting the development of Puerto Rican and Latino/a leaders of integrity.

  Dr. Antonia Pantoja receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom, September 1996.

Photo Copyright: The Antonia Pantoja Papers. Archives of the Puerto Rican Diaspora, Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños, Hunter College, CUNY. Photographer unknown.

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DAPF Address

Dr. Antonia Pantoja Fellowship, Inc.

60 East 42nd Street, Suite 4600

New York, New York 10165

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Dr. Pantoja's Memoirs

You can purchase Dr. Pantoja's memoirs, entitled Memoir of a Visionary: Antonia Pantoja, at DAPF events. Proceeds from the book's sale support DAPF's mission. For more information, please email us at info@drantoniapantojafellowship.org.