The second installment of a 10-year commitment to scholarships was presented by the McAllen Medical Center Foundation to The University of Texas-Pan American Foundation on Monday, Dec. 17.
The MMC Foundation funds, which will total $150,000 at the end of its 10-year commitment, are targeted for the UTPA/Valley Alliance of Mentors for Opportunities and Scholarships (VAMOS) Valley Scholars Program.
Students who transfer from South Texas Community College are eligible to receive scholarships from this fund. John Schrock Sr., an MMC Foundation board member, said the annual $15,000 contribution - which is then matched by the UTPA Foundation - will go a long way to better the community.
"We at the foundation feel this is one of the most important contributions we can make," said Schrock. "It is the case of a good corporate citizen who is willing to give back to the community."
Liliana Fernandez, a UTPA Valley Scholars student, said the scholarship has helped fulfill her dream of earning a college degree and maintaining a high grade point average.
"If I wouldn't have had the VAMOS scholarship, I wouldn't push myself to do better and keep my grades up," said Fernandez, a junior social work major. "I just want to say thank you. It has truly helped."
Roland S. Arriola, vice president for External Affairs at UTPA, accepted the check on behalf of the University and announced the foundation would once again match it to allow for another year of $30,000 in scholarships to STCC transfer students.
"It's crucial that these types of scholarships be made available to STCC graduates; otherwise, many of them wouldn't be able to complete their education and obtain a baccalaureate degree," Arriola said.
Alonzo Cantu, president of VAMOS and a member of the UTPA Foundation, issued the challenge to UTPA to match the annual MMC Foundation donation.
The morning announcement was followed by a luncheon in the International Trade and Technology Building. Also attending were Harold Siglar, MMC CEO/managing director; Dr. Miguel A. Nevárez, UTPA president; Yvonne Benavides, a Valley Scholar majoring in interdisciplinary studies; Julia Benitez Sullivan, UTPA director of University Relations; Lydia Aleman, UTPA director of Development and Endowment Support; and Gilbert Maldonado and Alice McMurry, both of whom are development officers at UTPA.
Created in 1995, VAMOS is comprised of local professionals dedicated to helping students attend college. It provides scholarships to high school students for their outstanding achievements and academic performances.