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Partners in Education at UTPA
Posted: 10/14/2002
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Citing the African proverb, "It takes a whole village," Roland S. Arriola, vice president for External Affairs at The University of Texas-Pan American, praised companies supporting Hispanic Engineering, Science &Technology Week Oct. 14-17 by calling them companies with a vision.

"These types of events are very expensive to put on, and corporate support is vital," Arriola said.

Among the event sponsors is IBM, IBC, Coca-Cola, Dell, Boeing, State Farm and Lockheed Martin. Most of the companies are underwriting meals, hosting speakers, providing manpower and donating prizes.

But Arriola said that the success of ambitious events such as HESTEC, hinges on more than just financial commitment.

"It's one thing to write a check, but we need their involvement too," he said. "It's another thing to participate in the planning process to be a real partner in making a difference."

Ideal partners such as International Bank of Commerce have allowed Valley school districts the opportunity to expand their knowledge in science and technology through HESTEC.

"As a Texas based company, we've always taken a very pro-active stand and believe in supporting and challenging institutions to be the catalyst for change," said David Guerra, president of IBC.

Other company sponsors say they are already yielding high returns on their education investment.

"IBM is always looking for top quality engineering students as well as students that come from a diverse background," said Cynthia Gonzalez, director of world-wide channel sales for IBM. "For quality students, UT Pan American fits the bill perfectly."

With plans already in the works to make HESTEC an annual event, Arriola is calling on other businesses to make a commitment.

"It takes a village, we need corporate America on board," he said. "It will take the business community, local, state and federal government to help us make a difference."

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