HISPANIC SCHOLARSHIP FUND INDUCTS FIVE EXEMPLARY LATINOS INTO ITS PRESTIGIOUS ALUMNI HALL OF FAME
Accomplished Hispanic professionals honored at annual event inspire Hispanic youth
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Five extraordinary Latinos will be inducted into the Hispanic Scholarship Fund Alumni Hall of Fame at its sixth annual gala October 17, 2007 at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington D.C. They will join a select group of Latino professionals who have been recognized for their achievements, contributions and service to America, including former Surgeon General Richard Carmona and U.S Ambassador to Mexico Tony Garza.
This year’s inductees include the CEO of one of the leading computer chip manufacturers in the U.S.; a former dropout who returned to school at 39 and is now a Harvard medical fellow; the first immigrant councilmember of Los Angeles; a medical student who graduated at age 23; and a leading innovator in the field of education. All have inspirational stories of success and are exemplary role models for Hispanic youth.
The Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF), the nation’s leading organization supporting Latino higher education, aims to inspire future generations of Latino college graduates by honoring Latinos who have excelled in their fields. The HSF Alumni Hall of Fame was created in 2002 to honor Hispanics who demonstrate the power of higher education and to highlight how attaining a college degree can change individual lives and society as a whole for the better. Each honoree’s lifetime challenges and subsequent accomplishments illustrate the possibilities unleashed through higher education and personify the mission and values of HSF.
Each year, HSF selects four outstanding HSF alumni who were aided by an HSF scholarship while in college. A fifth individual, who is not a former HSF Scholar, is selected for his or her success and excellence. Awards are given in five categories: The Triumpher, The Motivator, The Rising Star, The Humanitarian, and The Optimist.
This year’s inductees, representing achievements in the medical, academic, corporate and public policy fields, include:
- Héctor Ruiz, Chairman and CEO of AMD Inc., Sunnyvale, CA. Born in Piedras Negras, Mexico, Ruiz joined AMD in January 2000 as president and chief operating officer, and was named chief executive officer in April 2002. He was appointed as chairman of the board in April 2004. Previously, Ruiz served as president of Motorola's Semiconductor Products Sector. During his 22-year career in the field of technology, he has held a variety of executive positions in the United States and overseas. He also worked at Texas Instruments in the company's research laboratories and manufacturing operations. Ruiz earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Texas, Austin. He earned his doctorate in Electronics from Rice University in 1973. Ruiz is passionate about the role of technology in education and empowering the underprivileged. During his tenure at AMD, Ruiz announced the 50x15 Initiative, a commitment to empower 50 percent of the world’s population with basic Internet access by the year 2015. Ruiz serves on the President’s Council of Advisors for Science and Technology.
- José Huizar, City Councilmember, Los Angeles. Born in Zacatecas, Mexico and raised in Boyle Heights, just east of downtown L.A., Huizar was recently re-elected to his second term as City Councilmember and represents Los Angeles’ District 14. Prior to serving as a councilmember, he was a member and then President of the Board of Education for the Los Angeles Unified School District. He has also served as Deputy City Attorney for the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office in the Real Estate and Environmental Division. He fought for educational justice and spearheaded the effort to ensure that all children in Los Angeles complete all courses necessary to be eligible for admission at a California public university. Huizar was the first Latino to serve on the Princeton University Board of Trustees and is Los Angeles’ very first Latino immigrant City Councilman. He has been named by the Los Angeles Business Journal as one of the 25 local figures who “stand out for their potential to shape lives.”
- Juan S. Méndez, Principal, High School of Enterprise, Business and Technology, New York City. Under his leadership as the founding principal, the High School of Enterprise, Business and Technology in New York City has received full accreditation from the New York State Education Department and is one of the most sought-after high schools. Méndez also developed the College Board Advanced Placement Spanish Language and Literature Programs. Mendez spent most of his childhood in the Dominican Republic before returning to the United States at the age of thirteen. While in school, he received the Baruch College Alumni Association Graduate Award in Education, which is awarded to the graduate student with the highest grade point average.
- Angelina Imelda Valladares, M.D., Gainesville, FL. One of the youngest medical school graduates in the country, Valladares knew she wanted to become a pediatrician at the young age of thirteen when she witnessed the birth of her youngest brother. Ten years later, she realized her dream. Valladares completed full-time coursework with dual-enrollment in high school and simultaneously achieved her A.A. before graduating from the University of Florida with a medical degree at 23, making her the youngest in her class. Today she is a repeat member of a medical team giving aid to children in the mountains of the Dominican Republic and provides ongoing translation work at a hospital with a large Latino farm worker population.
- Arelys Feliciano Sánchez, Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard Medical School, Boston. She had to drop out of junior high to assist her family, but Feliciano Sánchez never lost sight of her educational goals. Feliciano Sánchez earned her GED at age 20 and dedicated herself to earning a higher education at age 39, all while being a single mother and occasionally working four part-time jobs. She began her education at Bronx Community College and continued at William Patterson University in New Jersey, after receiving a scholarship for the Biopsychology Honors Program. She later entered the graduate program at Brandeis University and will begin her postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School and the Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital under a National Institute for Health grant.
“We are very proud of our HSF Alumni as well as our current HSF scholars. Each is an inspiration to all because they excelled academically, are involved in their communities and are great role models themselves,” said Christopher E. Jones, HSF Chief Operating Officer. “A large majority of HSF Scholars are the first in their families to attend college and have had to overcome incredible social and financial obstacles to earn their degrees. Almost without exception, they personify intellect, perseverance and determination. These are America’s future leaders and we are honored to be able to help them.”
The 2007 HSF Alumni Hall of Fame is made possible through the leadership of USA Funds, Anheuser-Busch Cos, Inc. and Distributors®, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Coca-Cola Company, Exxon Mobil Foundation, Macy’s and Southwest Airlines®, and with generous support from many other sponsoring companies and organizations.
About Hispanic Scholarship Fund
Founded in 1975 as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, HSF's vision is to strengthen the country by advancing college education among Hispanic Americans. In support of its mission to double the rate of Hispanics earning college degrees, HSF provides the Latino community more college scholarships and educational outreach support than any other organization in the country. In its 32-year history, HSF has awarded more than 82,000 scholarships worth more than $221 million to Latinos from all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands attending nearly 2,000 colleges and universities.