Local support has resulted in significant growth and hundreds of alumni
TAMPA, Fla. (Aug. 18, 2015) – The University of South Florida Latino Scholarship Program celebrates its 24th anniversary Aug. 20 during the program’s annual scholarship awards presentation. This event takes place from 6-8:30 p.m. at the USF School of Music Concert Hall, and features a reunion of alumni and supporters.
After beginning with one scholarship in 1992, the program has experienced considerable growth. More than $2 million has been awarded, leading to 102 students currently receiving scholarships and 406 program alumni. The program graduated 26 students this year, many of whom have gone on to pursue graduate degrees.
The program has been made possible through the contributions of some of Tampa Bay’s leading families, organizations and individuals, most notably the Gonzmart Family Foundation, the Sant’ Yago Education Foundation, the Helios Education Foundation and the Mayor’s Hispanic Advisory Council, as well as local physicians, lawyers, educators and USF alumni. Together they have raised more than $4.8 million in endowed funds after State of Florida matching funds.
The scholarships are awarded to high-achieving students with financial need, who are from the first generation in their families to attend college, and who are involved in the Latino community in the Tampa bay area. Each scholar is paired with a scholarship sponsor who serves as a mentor until the student graduates.
Among the participants in Thursday’s award ceremony will be Navy veteran and ophthalmologist Dr. Brandon Rodriguez, who now practices at Tampa’s Newsome Eye & Laser Center, Dr. Daniel Matta who is completing his residency at Bayfront Health System, and Dr. Yosvel Blanco, who graduated from dental school in May.
Also taking the spotlight will be the program’s past and present directors, Donna Parrino, now retired, and Patsy Feliciano who serves us USF’s director of diversity and inclusion in the Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity. Parrino oversaw the program for the first 10 years.
“What makes this scholarship program unique is that they include mentors who provide much needed guidance, encouragement and opportunities and that contributes to our students’ success,” said Feliciano. “That’s why you’ll find our graduates in such fields as education, nursing, medicine, law, engineering, accounting and so many others contributing to society.”
Note to Editors: Some Latino Scholarship recipients and donors are available for interviews upon request.
The University of South Florida is a high-impact, global research university dedicated to student success. USF is a Top 50 research university among both public and private institutions nationwide in total research expenditures, according to the National Science Foundation. Serving nearly 48,000 students, the USF System has an annual budget of $1.5 billion and an annual economic impact of $4.4 billion. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference.