Cal State Fullerton President Mildred García welcomed Mario Cuevas Zamora, consul of Mexico, to campus April 11 for a special ceremony at the Golleher Alumni House.
The consulate’s donation of $23,000 is being matched by the University so that 23 Abrego scholars each receive an additional $2,000 scholarship.
In addressing those gathered for the ceremony, Cuevas Zamora said: “We believe education is the key to changing lives … and fundamental to the public good.”
Abrego also addressed attendees. Prior to his appointment to the CSU Board of Trustees, Abrego served CSUF for more than 26 years in various administrative roles, including as acting vice president for student affairs. He was a driving force behind the University’s annual CSUF Hispanic Scholarship Golf Tournament to raise scholarship funds for first-generation college students. This year’s sold-out event is set for April 17.
Introduced by Greg Saks, vice president for university advancement, as a “passionate advocate on behalf of students,” Abrego thanked the Mexican Consulate for its contribution to the scholarship program and “all that you do to protect the rights of Mexican nationals in Orange County and particularly for your support of DACA students.”
Speaking both in English and Spanish, Abrego talked about the program’s launch 30 years ago and the dedication of its organizers, including Class of ’77 alumna Rosalina Davis, co-owner of Placentia’s Tlaquepaque Restaurant, who was applauded when Abrego recognized her in the audience.
“When we started this program … we talked about how we believe in our youth,” he recalled. “We talked about the challenges our youth have in overcoming obstacles — first-generation college students, low incomes, attending schools that generally do not encourage or prepare them to do well in college.
“We wanted to provide this opportunity for them to pursue higher education and be able to accomplish great things,” he continued.
“The families they come from … support tremendously the value of education. What they want for their child is a better life than what they have for themselves.”
Noting that CSUF is ranked No. 1 in California for awarding degrees to Latinos, Abrego said: “I take pride in knowing that this program that was initiated 30 years ago had some role in making that happen.”
Echoing the theme of accomplishment, García said that “over the last four years, Cal State Fullerton has seen the opportunity gap eliminated for transfer students” and cut in half for first-time freshmen. She noted that 40 percent of CSUF students are Latinos who “are going out into the community doing great things.”
She, too, spoke in both Spanish and English and received applause for noting that CSUF is also No. 1 in California for graduating women with bachelor’s degrees and pointed out that 75 percent of CSUF graduates are landing jobs within six months of earning their degrees.
All but two of the 23 scholarship recipients attended the ceremony and had the chance to meet Abrego and Cuevas Zamora at the reception that followed. They were recognized at the event and greeted with applause.
The scholarship recipients and their majors are:
Anthony Abdelsayed, international business
Erica Antolin, human services
Albert Bustamante, business administration
Anthony Deloya, criminal justice major
Maritza Diaz, human services
Angel Duran, English and dance
Michael Friend, public administration
Sonia Gomez, heath science
Luis Gonzalez, mathematics
Kenia Guzman, an undeclared sophomore
Nancy Martinez-Gonzalez, business administration-accounting
Nayeli Rodriguez Hernandez, communicative disorders
Jose D. Solano Jimenez, political science
Melanie Martinez, kinesiology
Jaylene Mendoza, heath science major
Alejandro Murillo, business administration
Brenda Valdez Nava, athletic training and health science
Jose Ramirez, nursing and health science
Fatima Salcedo, human communication studies
Sheila Samperio, health science
Joshua Santiago, kinesiology major also pursuing a teaching credential
Jacqueline G. Terrones, business administration
Yahaira Valencia, nursing
The new partnership with the Mexican Consulate in Santa Ana was celebrated as the embodiment of both institutions’ commitment to student success.