Hannelore Banks Rodriguez was born in Fargo, North Dakota, and grew up in West Philadelphia. She graduated from Nether Providence High School in Wallingford, Pennsylvania in 1982. She went on to receive her A.B. in 1987, her A.M. in 1990, and her Ph.D. in 2009, all in art and architectural history from Brown University. Rodriguez also earned her Ed.M. in 2005, and Ed.D. in 2013, both from Harvard University. She has made an extensive career in higher education administration and at the time of the interview, Rodriguez held a position as Senior Advisor for Strategy and Planning at Dominican University of California.