Faculty, staff and students at The University of Texas-Pan American joined corporate recruiters recently at the third annual Partners in Excellence Banquet to be honored and recognized for their support and participation in internship and cooperative education programs during the 2000-2001 academic year.
IBM, a world-renowned technology company, was recognized as Employer of the Year. International business graduate Lisette Aveitua was named Student of the Year, and Pearl Brazier, assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science, received the Faculty of the Year award.
For several years, IBM has worked extensively with the University to provide financial and technical support for students.
"UT Pan Am is one of our focus universities," said Cynthia Gonzalez, vice president of IBM Global Mid-Market Business, who accepted the award on behalf of the company. "We focus in on UT Pan Am mostly because of the School of Engineering as well as its high population of Hispanics."
With her leadership, Gonzalez has worked to oversee a worldwide channel sales team with the software group of IBM. Under her guidance, the team of IBM/Lotus software sales professionals developed a visionary approach to the integration of IBM and Lotus business strategies, culture and technologies.
Roland S. Arriola, UTPA vice president for External Affairs, expressed the importance of honoring employers who have provided internships and employment opportunities for UTPA students.
"This is very important to us as a University because not only do we have a responsibility to educate the students, but we also have the responsibility to make sure they're successful after they graduate," he said.
Keynote speaker Coleman H. Peterson, executive vice president for Wal-Mart Stores People Division, congratulated faculty members for their hard efforts and dedication.
"I take my hat off to the faculty for what they are doing," Peterson said. "I think the educators are probably the most important people in the world."
Responsible for managing one of the largest workforces in the world with 750,000 employees, Peterson has helped develop "Get, Keep and Grow," a program to make Wal-Mart an employer of choice. Through this program, he enables management to accept incentive pay plans for both hourly and management employees as a way to motivate better company performance.