2018 Excellence Awards Ceremony Honors UPR Alumni

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UPRAA held its Annual Holidays and Excellence Awards Reception on December 13th with a night of drinks, food, and fellowship in Washington, DC. The event brought together association members and friends to honor distinguished alumni for their outstanding leadership and unique contributions to our community. Special thanks to Congresswoman Joyce Beatty, Representative of the 3rd District of Ohio, for hosting us at the venue: US Congress Rayburn House Office Building 2075.

Among those in attendance were former UPRAA President – Tomas Esterrich, Board of Directors, and special guests, Department of State Senior Executive, Carmen Cantor, and Monica Herrera from the Embassy of Colombia.

The awards ceremony included special remarks from Master of Ceremonies and UPRAA Board Member, Juan Leonardo Negrón-Diaz. Mr. Negrón-Diaz, who also serves as Director of Programs and External Affairs at the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute, opened the program with a powerful message about recognizing where we come from:

"We leave our island with an immense desire to grow— personally and professionally, and we sometimes forget where we came from and the institution that made us who we are. But that's why UPRAA exists: alumni and friends who respect and recognize the amazing preparation that the UPR gave us, unite to support UPR students through scholarships, and recognize those that have excelled in the diaspora and contribute back to their alma mater."

UPRAA was honored to recognize Antonio Díaz-Agosto (UPR, Río Piedras), Natalia Gandia (UPR, Río Piedras), and Yajaira Sierra-Sastre (UPR, Mayaguez) as the 2018 Excellence Awards recipients. Their exemplary achievements and triumphs as graduates of the University of Puerto Rico showcase the highest ideals of our organization. Presenting the awards were UPRAA Board Members, Richard Negrón, Juan Leonardo Negrón-Diaz, and Alida Rodríguez.

In his welcome message, UPRAA President, Jose O. Torres, spoke about the importance of alumni giving, calling it "a testament of how we, as graduates of [University of Puerto Rico], view our University."

"Our goal as alumni should be to create a habit of giving back. And our ultimate goal should be to sustain such generosity for the rest of our lives.... [It is a matter of] demonstrating love and appreciation for the education and development our University provided us; It's about providing others with similar opportunities, similar experiences. It's about staying connected with friends and the community. Even reaping the social and emotional—and even tax—benefits associated with being a donor. How can I not show gratitude to my University, if she was the one responsible for turning me into a professional citizen and laying out the basis for my successful life?"

Read the speech in its entirety here.

UPRAA Board of Directors would like to express the most sincere thanks to all of our sponsors for the contributions and continued support received through the year 2018. Congratulations to our 2018 awardees, and best wishes for much-continued success!

 

President’s Message: 2018 Excellence Awards and Holiday Reception

UPRAA > Event Recaps
The following is a transcript of UPRAA President Jose O. Torres' opening remarks at the 2018 Holidays and Excellence Awards Reception

Welcome Remarks by UPRAA President
2018 Excellence Awards and Holiday Reception
Rayburn House Office Building, Washington DC
December 13, 2018

Welcome to UPRAA’s Excellence Awards and Holiday Reception. What an honor to have such a great group of distinguished individuals who are, in one way or another, linked to the University of Puerto Rico, its alumni, and friends.

I am a graduate of the University of Puerto Rico and I am very proud of it.

Two years ago, I stood in front of some of you as the new UPRAA President and vowed to work hard to make a difference in our University and in the lives of our future leaders. I accepted the challenge because, through my college years, I cannot recall a single moment someone talked to me about the importance of alumni giving to my school. And, as I grew in my profession, I realized the impact education had and asked, What should be our goal to help make our Educational Institution better?

Someone should have told us. Before we even received our diploma—such a prestigious document that we hang proudly on the walls of our homes and our offices— someone should have talked to us about the importance of making donations to our Alma Mater.

Well, if you have not heard this before, I am saying it now: Our goal as alumni should be to create a habit of giving back… And our ultimate goal should be to sustain such generosity for the rest of our lives.

This is important because, for me, alumni giving is a testament to how we, as graduates from our loving school, view our University.

  • It is a matter of being loyal… demonstrating love and appreciation for the education and development our University provided us,
  • It is about providing others a similar experience,
  • Staying connected with friends and the community,
  • Even reaping the social and emotional – and even tax – benefits associated with being a donor.

How can I not show gratitude to my University, if she was the one responsible for turning me into a professional citizen and laying out the basis for my successful life?
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La UPI produces successful graduates who become great professionals and are making a difference in this great Nation. All of you fall under that category, and understanding the importance of alumni giving is invaluable!

Speaking of successful graduates from the University of Puerto Rico... Tonight, we recognize professionals going above and beyond in their efforts to shape our future. We are honored to be in the presence of the young, distinguished leaders being recognized tonight.

As we celebrate another successful year for UPRAA, let us give thanks to our alumni, friends and our sponsors that helped UPRAA reach $180,000 in scholarships. Let’s continue to give back and make the difference.

Thank you.

Jose O. Torres
President, Association of University of Puerto Rico Alumni and Friends Abroad 

Hispanic Charity Golf Tournament – A Resounding Success!

UPRAA > Event Recaps

On Friday, October 5th, 2018, UPRAA celebrated its 12th annual charity golf tournament – a day of golf and fellowship in support of our Hispanic youth and our Wounded Warriors! This annual event is the primary fundraiser for our Scholarship Fund, and the proceeds are directly targeted to help students achieve their dreams and aspirations. 

Despite an initial postponement of the event due to Hurricane Florence, nothing was stopping our golfers from attending the 2018 Washington, DC Hispanic Charity Golf Classic at Andrews Air Force Base. Between the list of attendees, awesome sponsors, the contest prizes and auction items, it truly was an amazing event. Thanks to all the committee members, volunteers, donors and sponsors who made this event a resounding success!