St. Mary’s University was honored at the 4th Annual AGUILA Youth Leadership Institute’s, “Fulfilling Arizona’s Destiny”  luncheon in March, which honored community leaders and organizations that support higher education for Arizona students. 

St. Mary’s was recognized as a 2013 honoree for demonstrated commitment to AGUILA and the talented youth of Arizona. St. Mary’s has worked in close partnership with AGUILA through outreach to high school students, delivery of financial aid presentations to high school counselors, and workshops conducted during the AGUILA Summer Leadership Symposium. St. Mary’s was the only out-of-state honoree.

“St. Mary’s University has been a beacon of light to so many of our students with continued growing interest in a school whose staff, faculty and administration truly embrace the ideals of justice and equity in college access and preparation.,” says CEO Rosemary Ybarra-Hernandez, MPA, AGUILA Youth Leadership Institute, Inc. ” But most importantly, St. Mary’s University has continued to nurture and support our students in their academic, personal and professional goals.  We wish to honor and thank you and the University for your wonderful work and support of our students.”

This event supports the AGUILA’s signature Summer Leadership Symposium.  AGUILA’s mission is to empower and prepare Latino/Latina youth for college admissions and graduation through a unique approach based upon a greater cultural understanding as a guide to personal, academic and professional excellence as future leaders.

The luncheon was dedicated to Parish Ocampo, a student member of AGUILA who died days before the event. Other honorees included, Catherine Anaya of CBS 5 News, Arizona State Senator Linda Lopez, Arizona State Senator Anna Tovar, Salt River Project, Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Arizona Latino Arts & Cultural Center, and Latino Perspectives Magazine.

Deborah Santiago, Vice President and Co-Founder of Excelencia in Education in Washington, D.C., served as the keynote speaker. She has has spent more than 15 years leading research and policy efforts from the community to national levels to improve educational opportunities and success for all students. Her current research focuses on state and federal policy, financial aid, effective institutional practices, and student success in higher education. She has been cited in numerous publications, including The Economist, the New York Times, the Washington Post, AP, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, and Diverse Issues in Higher Education. Santiago serves on the board of the Latin American Youth Center (DC) and the National Association for College Admission Counseling. She also serves on the advisory boards of Univision’s Education Campaign and the Pathways to College Network.  



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