State Farm names UTPA "priority school" again and donates $50,000
Posted: 02/06/2007
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The University of Texas-Pan American was recognized as a "State Farm Priority School" for the second year in a row and received a $50,000 grant from State Farm Companies Foundation for HESTEC (Hispanic Engineering, Science and Technology) Week.

Pictured from left to right at the Feb. 2 press conference to announce the $50,000 grant and "State Farm Priority School" designation are Christie Schoonover, community citizenship specialist, State Farm Insurance Companies; Julian Garza, State Farm agent; Dr. Blandina Cárdenas, UTPA president; Florinda Gonzalez, UTPA sophomore majoring in nursing; Chris Schell, vice president of agency-State Farm Insurance Companies; and Dr. Roland Arriola, UTPA vice president for External Affairs.
State Farm presented the University with the grant Feb. 2 at the International Trade and Technology Building with University administrators, students, and political and State Farm officials in attendance.

"State Farm has been a good neighbor to us," UTPA President Dr. Blandina Cárdenas said. "Time and time again this company has proven its commitment to UTPA, to the community and its residents."

For the past two academic years, State Farm Companies Foundation has recognized UTPA as a "State Farm Priority School," based on its academic performance and its community outreach to more than 50,000 students, teachers, parents, and community members during HESTEC Week.

State Farm Agent Julian Garza of Weslaco said UTPA is one of only two universities in the state to receive this honor.

"We try our best to direct our resources, both financial and through volunteer work to the areas where we think we can have the greatest impact," Garza said. "Our goal is to help raise the level of achievement for teachers and students as well."

State Farm Companies Foundation has given more than $280,000 to the University since 2002.

Florinda Gonzalez, a sophomore at the University majoring in nursing, attended HESTEC since its inception and received a GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness in Undergraduate Programs) scholarship.

"As a nursing student, I am grateful for the money given by State Farm Companies Foundation. It really helps take the financial burden off of my mind and allows me to concentrate on what is really important - my education," Gonzalez said. "Because of you, you have built a road in which I will continue to succeed in my scholarly ambitions."

Founded by UTPA and Congressman Rubén Hinojosa, in partnership with the Region One Educational Service Center, HESTEC Week was created for the purpose of getting pre-K-16 students, teachers, and community interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers by working together with corporations, federal, state, and local agencies to help meet the needs of a diverse Hispanic work force.

HESTEC Week 2007 is scheduled for Sept. 24-29. For more information about HESTEC, call 956/381-3361.