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PR Newswire

The Hispanic Scholarship Fund Honors Hispanic Leaders at Inaugural Alumni Hall Of Fame Ceremony

New Initiative Recognizes the Contributions and Successes of Hispanic Americans in the United States and Demonstrates the Power of Higher Education

October 2, 2002
Copyright © 2002 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. 

WASHINGTON, Oct. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- The Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF), the nation's leading organization supporting Hispanic higher education, today inducted five past HSF scholarship recipients and deserving Latinos into the inaugural HSF Alumni Hall of Fame. The Alumni Hall of Fame event, which will take place every year, is a new initiative that salutes Hispanic Americans who have earned a college degree, excel in their careers and community, and are positive role models for Hispanic students.

Today's induction ceremony celebrated the achievements of five Latino leaders in the United States, including Dr. Richard Carmona, Surgeon General of the United States.

"We are launching the HSF Alumni Hall of Fame to recognize the achievements of Latinos, who through their accomplishments, contributions and challenges, demonstrate the value of higher education," said Sara Martinez Tucker, president and chief executive officer of HSF. "The Hall of Fame also serves as a forum for inductees, so they can share their stories and inspire other Latinos to seek and obtain a college education and to pursue a successful career."

The first five honorees to be inducted into the HSF Alumni Hall of Fame are:

-- Dr. Richard Carmona, Surgeon General of the United States, who represents the "Optimista" (the optimist), awarded for success achieved through persistence in the face of adversity. Of Puerto Rican decent, Carmona was a high school dropout who turned his life around in the Army -- later graduating from medical school and becoming the first in his family to earn a college degree, with the help of HSF scholarships.

The former Arizona trauma surgeon and SWAT team deputy was unanimously confirmed as the new U.S. surgeon general in July 2002.

-- Rodolpho Carrasco, associate director of the Harambee Christian Family Center in Pasadena, Calif., who represents the "Altruista" (the humanitarian), awarded for personifying the spirit of gratitude and the value of giving back to the community. Carrasco, a Mexican-American by heritage and an HSF scholar, graduated from Stanford University and currently works with Latino and African-American youth to encourage leadership development.

-- Lisa Quiroz, founder and publisher of People en Espanol, who represents the "Triunfador" (the victor), awarded for realizing the ultimate professional achievement and for "raising the bar." Quiroz, an HSF scholar of Puerto Rican and Mexican decent, was born and raised in New York City, and received both her undergraduate degree and MBA from Harvard University. Under her leadership, People en Espanol, the best-selling Hispanic magazine in the United States, topped Adweek's 2001 and 2002 "10 Under 40 Magazine" Hot List in recognition for outstanding advertising sales and circulation growth.

-- Elias Fernandez, winemaker for Shafer Vineyards in Napa Valley, Calif., who represents the "Inspirador" (the motivator), awarded for personifying the hard work and sacrifice made by Latino families in pursuit of a college education. Fernandez, an honorary HSF alum, is a celebrated winemaker, crafting world-class wines that appear in top hotels and restaurants across the United States, Europe and Asia. Named "Winemaker of the Year" by the Quarterly Review of Wines and Food and Wine magazine, Fernandez is of Mexican decent and received a degree from the University of California, Davis -- the first in his family to go to college.

-- Fortunato Tapia, community outreach organizer, Los Angeles Unified School District, who represents the "Brillante" (the rising star), awarded for personifying limitless potential. Tapia, an HSF scholar, plans and coordinates outreach activities throughout the Los Angeles community to garner support for new school expansions. Tapia received a college degree at Woodbury University in Burbank, Calif.

All inductees into the HSF Alumni Hall of Fame are being honored for their compelling stories of overcoming great obstacles to attain a college education. For the inaugural year, an internal committee selected the inductees and one honorary scholarship recipient who personifies a good work ethic and the pursuit of success. For future Alumni Hall of Fame selections, the previous year's inductees will choose the new inductees and honorary alum.

"Currently, Hispanics represent the segment of the American population with the lowest level of educational attainment and the highest dropout rate," said Martinez Tucker. "Because HSF is committed to breaking this cycle of under-education with programs such as the HSF Alumni Hall of Fame, we are showing Latino students and their parents that -- through higher education -- it is possible to pursue successful careers and achieve economic security."

The HSF Alumni Hall of Fame is made possible by the support of Procter & Gamble, presenting platinum sponsor, and Anheuser-Busch, The Coca-Cola Company, General Motors and Microsoft, gold sponsors.

Hispanics are the fastest-growing population segment in the United States and are expected to be the largest minority in the United States by the year 2015. According to a Pew Hispanic Center report, although Hispanics are entering college at a comparable rate to non-Hispanic whites and blacks, 36.5 percent of white high school graduates ages 25 to 29 earned at least a bachelor's degree by 2001, compared with 20.6 percent of blacks and only 16.4 percent of Hispanics.

As part of HSF's goal to double the rate of Hispanics earning college degrees, the organization provides various scholarship programs to support students financially. The scholarship programs offered by HSF meet the diverse financial needs of students, and include the College Scholarship Program, the Special Scholarship Programs, the High School Scholarship Program, the Community College Transfer Scholarship Program and the Gates Millennium Scholars Program. In addition, HSF has created numerous outreach programs that offer resources and information to help students and parents navigate the college application process, as well as provide support for scholars currently enrolled in college. These include the HSF Scholar

Chapters, the HSF Regional Offices, HSF Town Hall Meetings, HSF Alumni Network and the HSF Celebrations of Achievement events.

About HSF

HSF is the nation's leading organization supporting Hispanic education. Headquartered in San Francisco, HSF was founded in 1975 based on a vision to strengthen the country by advancing college education among Hispanic Americans, the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population.

Today, HSF has expanded its operations in Southern and Central California, the Northeast, Southwest and Midwest to provide the Latino community more college scholarships and educational outreach support than any other organization in the country. In support of its mission to double the rate of Hispanics earning college degrees, the Washington, D.C., based Hispanic Scholarship Fund Institute, sister organization of HSF, was created to generate public partnerships in order to provide financial assistance to college-bound Latino students.

During its 27-year history, HSF has awarded more than 54,000 scholarships in excess of $89 million to Latinos from all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands who have attended more than 1,300 colleges and universities. To learn more visit

CONTACT: Miguel Salinas of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, +1-408-896-8362, or; or Lindsay Leslie of Fleishman-Hillard, +1-214-665-1341, or, for the Hispanic Scholarship Fund

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