Video of Hostos President David Gomez speech
On May 6, the Hostos family came together once again to raise invaluable support for the College’s more important resource: its students.

Held at the beautiful Glen Island Harbour Club in New Rochelle, the 2016 Scholarship Benefit recognized important donors and supporters, while celebrating Hostos’ longstanding commitment to providing access to higher education to all. Over the past six years, the Hostos Scholarship Benefit has raised $2 million for student support services.

Honored at the event were The Carroll and Milton Foundation, the recipient of Hostos’ Community Engagement Lifetime Achievement Award, and Hostos alumnus and longtime supporter, Hector Díaz, the President of Acacia Network. For his commitment to Hostos and public service, Díaz received Hostos’ Distinguished Leadership and Service Award.

Introducing the honorees, Hostos President David Gómez thanked The Petrie Foundation for its multiyear commitment of nearly $200,000 in support of the Emergency Student Grant Fund at Hostos.  This fund provides emergency cash grants to students in good standing with short-term financial aid to help them remain in college. To date, 172 students received help when they needed it most.

Accepting the award for The Carroll and Milton Foundation was Beth Lief, the Executive Director of the Foundation. In addition to supporting Emergency Student Grants, The Petrie Foundation also donated an additional $150,000 to establish a construction industry workforce development program at Hostos.

President Gómez lauded Díaz for his lifelong commitment to The Bronx. Diaz, also a Hostos graduate, is the first Latino County Clerk in the State of New York, and he served as an Assemblyman for seven consecutive terms, creating the New York State Assembly Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force.

“Hector is a special person, full of loyalty and kindness for his friends and community. He performs acts of kindness on a regular basis, and he does it with humility and anonymously,” President Gómez said. “When there is a need, Hector is usually the one leading the charge.” 

2 men standing. 4 women satnding. smiling.

President Gómez also announced that Hostos established the “Hector Diaz Scholarship Fund,” through a generous gift of $100,000 from Acacia Network. The scholarship will help students who have exhausted their financial aid and are in need of support during their final semester at Hostos.

The event was MC’d by artist, poet, singer-songwriter, actress, and proud Bronx native Caridad De La Luz. De La Luz, who is no stranger to Hostos and its mission, entertained the crowd with several poems, while talking about the College’s role in building better individuals, who then in turn, help to build stronger communities.

Also recognized for their support at the event were: The Hostos Foundation Board members and Chairman Jose Sanchez-Kinghorn; Former President of Hostos, Dolores Fernández; distinguished CUNY guests Trustee Rita DiMartino and Hugo Morales, Vice Chancellor Ginger Waters, and Dean Carlos Flynn; CUNY Presidents Thomas Isekenegbe from Bronx Community College; Diane B. Call from Queensborough Community College; Antonio Perez of the Borough of Manhattan Community College and Farley Herzek of Kingsborough Community College and Marcia Keizs of York College.

But the true stars of the show were one current Hostos student and two alumni: Carla Frederick, Ryan Bannon, and Sergio Mauritz Ang. Each talked about their unique journey through higher education and how Hostos made their dreams possible. Their stories, though each distinct in their own way, resonated with the audience and helped prove why every gift is an invaluable resource.

“It was at Hostos that I realized that my education mattered, that my hard work, uniqueness and talent did not go unrecognized,” Bannon said. “That scholarships were available for everybody and anybody, but know that you yourself have to earn that.

Now an actor, Bannon borrowed a line from the Broadway Smash, “Hamilton.”

“I often think of the line from the groundbreaking musical Hamilton,” Bannon said. “I am that one thing in my life I can control. I am inimitable, I am an original."

President Gómez also congratulated the students, reiterating that it was them who made his job and the entire evening, so special.

“As someone who himself grew up in the public housing projects of New York City, I appreciate their determination, and I am moved by the countless stories of heroic sacrifice and academic excellence embodied by our students each and every day,” President Gómez said. “When I speak to people about our college I say that I do not have a story to tell about our students, I have 7,016 stories to tell. Each of them is more inspiring than the last.”

A text pledging campaign aimed at raising funds for students enrolled in Hostos’ “Two-Generation Student Retention and Degree Acceleration Program” smashed its goal, ensuring that 10 students and their children will receive free access to Hostos summer classes and the Hostos Children’s Center. A contest was held for two tickets to “Hamilton” as part of the campaign. Thanks to her pledge of $100 to the “Two-Gen” program, Assistant Professor Sandy Figueroa went home the lucky winner.
About Hostos Community College
Eugenio María de Hostos Community College is an educational agent for change that has been transforming and improving the quality of life in the South Bronx and neighboring communities since 1968. It serves as a gateway to intellectual growth and socioeconomic mobility, as well as a point of departure for lifelong learning, success in professional careers, and transfer to advanced higher education programs. The College’s unique Student Success Coaching Unit provides students with individualized guidance and exemplifies its emphasis on student support services.
Named one of the top 10 finalists for the 2015 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, Hostos offers 27 associate degree programs and two certificate programs that facilitate easy transfer to The City University of New York’s (CUNY) four-year colleges or baccalaureate studies at other institutions. The College has an award-winning Division of Continuing Education & Workforce Development that offers professional development courses and certificate-bearing workforce training programs. Hostos is part of CUNY, the nation’s leading urban public university, which serves more than 500,000 students at 24 colleges.