Over 160 candidates for graduation at Texas A&M International University's Summer Commencement Exercises Saturday, Aug. 5 will hear a commencement address from a former Laredoan who now heads the nation's premier Hispanic scholarship granting organization.
Sara Martinez Tucker, president and CEO of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, will offer the commencement address Saturday at 9 a.m. in the University's Kinesiology-Convocation Building.
Dr. Charles Jennett, A&M International president, said that as one of the nation's Top 100 universities granting degrees to Hispanics, it is a special privilege to welcome Martinez Tucker.
"She's a woman of remarkable personal and professional accomplishments and her efforts at HSF have seen scholarship awards grow from $3 million a year to a minimum of $20 million a year. As president of an institution where 80% of students qualify for and receive financial aid, I consider it an honor to welcome her home and thank her for the tremendous work she is doing on behalf of our students and all students," Dr. Jennett said.
After graduating from Laredo's J. W. Nixon High School, Martinez Tucker went on to receive her undergraduate degree in Journalism with honors from the University of Texas-Austin. She was a reporter for the San Antonio Express before returning to UT to earn an MBA with high honors.
She spent the following 16 years ascending the management at AT&T and in 1990 became the first Hispanic female to reach AT&T's executive tier. Before leaving AT&T, she was Regional Vice President for AT&T's Global Business Communications Systems, leading the $400 million division to its highest profit levels ever.
As president and CEO of the HSF, she was able to negotiate the largest direct gift to Hispanic higher education ever, a $50 million grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc. More recently, she secured the Hispanic Scholarship Fund's participation in the $1 billion Gates Millennium Scholars Program.
Martinez Tucker is chair of the Golden Gate University Board of Trustees and is a member of the Chancellor's Council and Advisory Councils for the College of Natural Sciences and the College of Communication at the University of Texas at Austin.
She serves on the Steering Committee of the Council for the Aid to Education, a RAND subsidiary promoting higher education, and is a member of The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation's National Selection Committee. Martinez Tucker was recently named to the advisory board of the Oxygen Media/Markle Foundation venture.
Hispanic Business Magazine named her one of the 100 Most Influential Hispanics for the third consecutive year in 1999 and Hispanic Magazine presented her with its Heritage Achievement Award for Education in 1998.
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