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La Liga de Las Americas

Diamante recipients, scholars praised at BGSU


BOWLING GREEN: The Diamante Awards, recognizing contributions to the Latino community in the Toledo-Metro area, was hosted on Sept. 14, 2007 at Bowling Green State University—its 18th year.


In addition to the four Diamante Award recipients, scholarships were presented to over 30 students from BGSU, Lourdes College, the University of Toledo, and Owens Community College—the four northwest Ohio institutions whose partnership in the awards program benefits their Latino students. The venue rotates among these 4 institutions.

Diamante Award recipients Naomi Valdez (senior at Bowling Green State University), Tom Brogan, Owens Corning’s President and CEO Dave Brown, and Spanish American Organization’s Bob Salazar, recognized at BGSU on Sept. 14, 2007.


Among the four Diamante award recipients was Naomi Valdez.           


Naomi Valdez, a BGSU senior from Findlay, received the Latina/Latino Youth Leadership Award. As 2006-07 president of the University’s Latino Student Union, Valdez, an international studies major, has worked with various campus departments developing methods to attract Latino students to BGSU.


Her campus involvement includes serving as student chair of the annual Latino Issues Conference and as a member of the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration steering committee and the Cinco de Mayo scholarship campaign. In December 2005, she was part of a BGSU delegation that traveled to Mobile, Ala., to offer Hurricane Katrina relief.


Valdez is also one of six BGSU students who were presented scholarships. She received a $1,000 National City Bank Diamante Scholars award.


Additional BGSU scholarship recipients included: $2,000 BGSU Foundation Scholarships was awarded to Michelle Bologna, a sophomore from Cincinnati majoring in international studies and Spanish; Jacqueline Hernández, a junior from Wauseon majoring in early childhood education; and Nathaniel Olmeda, a junior music education major from Cleveland.


Ryan García, a BGSU senior from Willard, Ohio majoring in family and consumer sciences, received a $1,000 scholarship as a Chrysler Corp. Fund Diamante Scholar; and Jonathan Visalden, a junior criminal justice major from Lorain, was awarded $1,000 as an Owens Corning Foundation Diamante Scholar.


BGSU’s Diamante scholarships are based on grade point average and financial need, as well as dedication and commitment to the campus Latino community. “We are thrilled to able to support more students at higher levels,” said Dr. Alberto González, cochair of the event and a previous Diamante Award recipient.


Other school scholarship recipients are:

Students from Lourdes College, based in Sylvania, Ohio, were honored as scholarship recipients including: Lauren Guzmán (senior majoring in nursing), Aaron Hoyas (sophomore majoring in pre-art therapy), Kristi Parson (senior majoring in biology and business administration), Rachel Reyes (freshman in nursing), Trina Craft (sophomore majoring in business administration), Alexandra Moreno (junior in nursing), and Brandee Mendoza (junior majoring in accounting, finance and business administration).


Students from the University of Toledo included: Mary Campbell (National City Bank), Raul Cardenas Jr. (National City Bank and Owens Corning Foundation), Joseph Fiorillo (National City Bank), & David Labombarbe (National City Bank); Evan Abalos (Owens Corning Foundation), Marco Rosas (Owens Corning Foundation), Delfina Zapata (Owens Corning Foundation), María Nevarez (Owens Corning Foundation), & Lydia Coca (Owens Corning Foundation); Andrea Obregon (Key Bank), Joseph Plasencio (Key Bank); and Heather O’Keefe (Diamante Image Latino Scholarship).

Dr. Gonzalez and Aguilar

According to the Diamante program booklet, honored students from Owens Community College included: Casey Arroyo (Chrysler Corporation Fund), Ashley Güercio (Chrysler Corporation Fund and Spanish American Organization), Sophia Ramos (Chrysler Corporation Fund), David Sankiewicz (Chrysler Corporation Fund), Belinda King (National City Bank and Owens Corning Foundation), Kristina Tijerina (National City Bank and Owens Corning Foundation), Elyssia Yado (National City Bank, Owens Community College, and Owens Corning Foundation), and Ashley Smith (Spanish American Organization).   


Other Diamante Award recipients recognized

The other three Diamante Awards were presented to: Bob Salazar (Latino/a Adult Leadership), Tom Brogan, (Friend of the Latino/a Community), and Owens Corning, (Corporate/Community Agency).


Salazar has co-chaired LatinoFest and, as a member of the Spanish American Organization, co-initiated Latino Scholarship Day with the Toledo Mud Hens with La Prensa, making it an annual Latino scholarship fundraising event. As a former president of the SAO, he developed partnerships with area colleges/universities to provide matching dollars for Latino scholarships.

Brogan has supported numerous events hosted by the Latino Networking Alliance at BGSU. For an alliance-sponsored taco dinner scholarship benefit, he rearranged a breakfast crew schedule at the Burger King restaurant he manages so the crew could cook for the dinner. He has also given his time and resources to BGSU Spirit Day and to BGSU Networking Alliance Holiday Parade efforts.


Owens Corning was honored for its role in the Diamante Campaign, which was launched in 2003, with the goal of raising $500,000 for Latino scholarships. With the help of its CEO and president Dave Brown, the campaign received an initial Owens Corning pledge of $75,000. According to co-founder Margarita DeLeón, ‘that led the way to a successful campaign, which closed in 2006, but now generates almost 40 scholarships annually at the four partnering institutions.’

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur

Rebecca Aguilar, a native of northwest Ohio, a graduate of BGSU, and an award-winning reporter at KDFW, Fox TV in Dallas-Fort Worth, graciously and eloquently was the masters of ceremony and keynote speaker.


Opening remarks were made by Dr. Sidney Ribeau (Pres. of BGSU), Dr. Rosemary H. Haggert (Provost of UT), Dr. Robert Helmer (Pres. of Lourdes), Dr. Christa Adams (Pres. of Owens Community College), and U.S. Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (9th District, Ohio).  The scholarship award presentations were coordinated by César Hernández of Owens Community College.


Tejano musician Jesse Ponce performed during a silent auction with José Luna, David Harnish, & Julian Herrera. The BGSU Graduate String Quartet provided music during the evening, and the presidents of each of the four collaborating institutions offered remarks.


The Diamante Awards Planning Committee was comprised of Roberta García, Naomi Valdez, Dr. Bettina Shuford, Annette “Andi” Kurtz, Dr. Alberto González, Yolanda Flores, Margarita DeLeón, Rebecca Aguilar (keynote speaker), Connie Weaver, Alexis DeAnda, & César Hernández, as shown in the La Prensa photo on page 20. Not shown in the photo are: Mardi Losoya-Rush, Marna Cousino, Chasity O’Neill, José L. Treviño, & Sabina Serratos. The advancement committee was comprised of DeLeón & O’Neill, Dan Karns, Mary Arquette, Ann Savage, Laura Moore, Vern Snyder, & Ellen Ingram.    



Jesse Ponce and Jose Luna

Bob Salazar


Diamante Awards Committee 2007
Click to enlarge




Rico and Bob


Naomi Valdez and Cesar Hernandez

Frances, Mary, Mary Jane


Cesar Hernandez

Naomi Valdez










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