La Prensa Stories
a Letter to the Editor
Flores, Orozco, others receive Diamante awards; students
By Rico Neller
Sept. 12, 2008: Owens Community College hosted the
2008 Diamante Awards gala—which recognizes individuals and
organizations for their achievements and service to the Latino
community in the Metro-Toledo area—at its Center for Fine and
Keynote Speaker Greg Guzmán of
BGSU recognizes scholarship recipients at Diamante Awards
Gregory A. Guzmán,
Director of Student Financial Aid at Bowling Green State
University, was the Master of Ceremonies and Keynote Speaker.
Guzmán is a Toledo native and is the only Latino director of
student financial aid in Ohio.
According to the Diamante Awards 2008 Program Booklet, Guzmán
“discovered a passion for helping college-bound students
overcome financial barriers as an intern for U.S.
[Congresswoman] Marcy Kaptur (9th District,
Ohio) and the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority.”
His résumé includes being a financial-aid counselor at Owens
Community College and Director of Student Financial Aid at
Tiffin University, followed by directing student financial aid
at Lourdes College and Bowling Green State University.
Guzmán is a graduate of Bowling Green State University (B.S.
Degree in Journalism and M.A. in Public Administration); he is
currently working on his Ph.D. in Higher Education at the
University of Toledo.
Remarks were presented by: Dr. Shirley Baugher (Provost
and Vice President for Academic Affairs, BGSU), Dr. Rosemary
H. Haggett (UT, Provost), Dr. Robert Helmer (Lourdes
College President), and Paul Unger (Executive
Vice President and Provost,
Owens Community College).
Lucas County Commissioner Ben Konop and Ohio Senator
Teresa Fedor also recognized the event’s recipients.
Diamante award recipients
(Diamante nomination awards chair) presented the awards to the
2008 award recipients:
Remarks were presented by Dr. Shirley Baugher (Provost and Vice
President for Academic Affairs, BGSU), Dr. Rosemary H. Haggett (UT,
Provost), Dr. Robert Helmer (Lourdes College President), and Paul
Unger (Executive Vice President and Provost, Owens Community
College) at Diamante Awards Gala of Sept. 12, 2008. Also, Luis Rivas
is seated second from right.
1) Oriana Orozco,
Toledo, a junior at Lourdes College, who is pursuing her
bachelor’s degree in marketing. She will receive the Latina
Youth Leadership Award. A former recipient of the César
Chávez Humanitarian Award and numerous scholarships, Ms. Orozco
is a leader within the Latino student community at Lourdes
In 2007, she was elected President of the Lourdes College Latino
Student Union (LSU), a role in which she still holds. Through
fundraisers, the LSU has raised substantial dollars for migrant
families throughout Northwest Ohio.
Orozco is active in Lourdes’ “Get in the Game New Student
Orientation Program” and volunteers at various campus-sponsored
events, including Latino Career Day and the College’s 50th
Anniversary Celebration. Additionally, she volunteers at
Washington Church as a MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) Nanny.
2) Albert Flores,
of Toledo will be named the Latino Adult Leadership Award
recipient. Flores’ commitment to the area youth of Northwest
Ohio has spanned over 33 years of dedicated service.
As a school teacher at Libbey High School, Flores continuously
stresses to his students about the importance of a college
education. From guiding students through the FAFSA application
process to advocating and guiding individuals through
scholarship opportunities at area academic institutions, Flores
gives tirelessly of his time to help them achieve academic and
career success. In addition to teaching, Flores serves on the
EXCEL board at The University of Toledo and recently began
tutoring University student-athletes.
UT's Mark Pickett recognized by César Hernández, Chair of the
3) Mark Pickett,
of Fremont, Professor of Civil Engineering at The University of
Toledo, will be named the recipient of the Friend of the
Latino Community Award. Picket has been a longtime advocate
in creating opportunities for students who face great challenges
in their education pursuits, especially children of Latino
migrant workers. His devotion to education includes spending
countless hours planning, gathering resources and assembling an
array of educators to reach those individuals in need of
Recognizing the tremendous educational challenges facing
children of Latino migrant workers as a result of repeatedly
relocating to new schools, the loss of a stable learning
environment and mentor relationships, Pickett decided to create
an educational program that meets the needs of these
individuals, as well as a program that teaches the students’
teachers. Among the program highlights include the students’
participation in The University of Toledo’s Latino Student
Pickett’s leadership goes beyond his organizing and teaching
initiatives as he works tirelessly to secure funding for these
programs from agencies such as the National Science Foundation
and the Ohio Department of Education, which enables teachers to
participate in the educational program free of charge. His
program also advocates that the educators give back to the
community by teaching migrant students in satellite schools
throughout Northwest Ohio.
Luis Rivas accepts award for Chrysler
This year’s recipient of the Corporation/Community Agency
Award was The Chrysler Foundation, which has served
as event sponsor of the Diamante Awards for the past four years.
The Chrysler Foundation’s commitment to the event sponsorship
now totals $60,000.
Jeep Plant Manager
Luis Rivas accepts the
Diamante award on behalf of the Chrysler Foundation, from
In addition to the event sponsorship, The Chrysler Foundation
had requested that $5,000 of the annual sponsorship be matched
by the participating higher education institutions resulting in
$40,000 in direct scholarships to students. The Chrysler
Foundation’s support has had an impact of $100,000 for the past
Toledo Jeep Assembly Plant Manager Luis Rivas accepted
the award for The Chrysler Foundation.
How recipients are chosen
Diamante Award recipients are chosen based on “recognition of
exemplary leadership/achievements within the Latino community or
community at large, or demonstrated excellence in their fields;
dedication and commitment in an ethical and inclusive fashion,
and modeling qualities and behaviors of a mentor for youth and
The identities of the members of the Diamante Nominee
Committee have not been reported by the four institutions
that host the awards, other than the identity of its nomination
chair, César Hernández.
The 2008 Diamante Planning Committee is comprised of:
Jodi Bixler, Marna Cousino, Alexia De Anda, Michelle Dockins,
Cleveland Henderson, César Hernández, Veronica Herrera, Connie
Konzen, Laura Moore, Debra Morales-Richards, Elisa Rodríguez,
Irene Salazar, Ann Savage, David Winchowski, Connie Weaver, and
Elyssia Yado of Owens Community College; Cecilia Rivera
of the University of Toledo; Kelly Dilworth of Lourdes
College; Margarita De León of Kaleidoscope Group; and
Sharon Muldon of V/Gladieux.
The annual Diamante event has been hosted by Owens Community
College, Bowling Green State University, Lourdes College, and
The University of Toledo since 2001, but was founded by the
former northwest Ohio Latino advocacy organization IMAGE in 1990
to “recognize individuals and organizations in the local Latino
community for their outstanding contributions, and to recognize
the impact of Latinos on U.S. culture and society. The
initiative includes providing scholarships and other support to
make it possible for Latino students to attend college.”
The first Diamante awards were present in 1990 to: Judge
Joseph A. Flores, Dr. Thomas López, Jesús Güel, María Güel,
Sandy Barrientos, and Hernan Vásquez.
Scholarship Students Honored
In addition to the four Diamante awards, scholarships were
presented to over 40 students from Owens Community College,
Bowling Green State University, Lourdes College, and The
University of Toledo – the four Northwest Ohio institutions
whose partnership in the awards program benefits their Latino
Keynote speaker Greg Guzmán recognized the student
Vásquez, Lourdes Santiago, and Diamante Award recipient Albert
The students included:
BGSU Diamante Foundation Scholarship: Michelle Bologna, Rose González,
Jacqueline Hernández, Nathan Olmeda, Jessica Vázquez, and Chris
Chrysler Foundation Diamante Scholarship:
Casey Arroyo (Owens), Henry Casiano (Owens), Jessica Jaimes (BGSU),
Orlando Vega (UT), and Sandy Villanueva (Owens).
Diamante Image Latino Scholarship:
Mary Campbell, Raúl Cárdenas, Paul Escabalzeta, Manuel
Mendizabal, Christina Rodríguez, and Rebecca Rodríguez (all of
Lourdes General Diamante Scholarship:
Theresa Flores-Litogot, Margaret García, Lauren Guzmán-Dresher,
Maribel Martínez, Andrea Preciado, and Nicole Reyes-Whitt.
College Diamante Endowed Scholarship Fund: Valentin Ballesteros,
Brandee Mendoza, and Joanne Reinhart.
National City Bank Diamante Latino Scholars Fund: Jennifer Clark (Owens),
Paul Escabalzeta (UT), José Luis Jiron (UT), Erik Soto (BGSU),
and Audrey Wildman (UT).
Community College Foundation Diamante Latino
Anea Escamilla, AnaAlicia Muñoz, Sandy Villanueva, and Elyssia
Owens Corning Foundation Diamante Latino Scholars Fund: Lydia Coca (UT), Jocelyn
Cruz (UT), Anea Escamilla (Owens), Kristen Ickes (Lourdes),
Daniel Liendo (UT), Dominique Lucio (Lourdes), María Nevarez
(UT), Angela Pérez (UT), María Torres (UT), and Kevin Zamora (BGSU).
Orozco with her family at the Diamante
Gala, Sept. 12, 2008.
Spanish American Organization Scholarship: Henry Casiano (Owens) and Sandy
According to speaker Guzmán, to date, the University of Toledo
has contributed over $80,000 in Diamante Scholarship funds;
Bowling Green State University has contributed over $87,000;
Lourdes College has contributed over $57,000; and Owens
Community College has contributed over $100,000—over $325,000 in
scholarship funds since 2001 and over $1,000,000 since 1990.
Margarita De León
was instrumental in joining the forces of these four major
institutions of higher learning and gathering the scholarship
contributions of these colleges and The Owens Corning
Foundation, National City Bank, and The Chrysler Foundation.
Entertainment was provided by Detroit’s Grupo Azteca.
The event was attended primarily by the participants and award
winners, in that the cost was prohibitive to most in the Latino
community—tickets were $75 per person or $125 per couple in
advance, or $85 per person or $150 per couple on the day of the
event—a price that stings in this sagging U.S. economy of 2008.
Father Notter and group
County Commissioner Ben Konop and
Ohio Senator Teresa Fedor recognize the event’s
Mary Jane Flores, Margarita De Leon,
Margarita De León with
Bob and Sue Salazar