Banquet celebrates Latino students and alumni

Sophomore Julia Ochoa accepts the Latino Alumni Líderes Award at the Latin Student and Alumni Banquet.

Sophomore Julia Ochoa accepts the Latino Alumni Líderes Award at the Latin Student and Alumni Banquet.

On Friday, April 12, the Latin American Student Organization (LASO) and Office of Alumni Relations co-sponsored the Latino Student and Alumni Banquet, a celebration honoring Latino and Latina students who will graduate in May 2013 with bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. The theme for this year’s dinner was “Llegando al Final…Journey to the Finish!” reflecting on the pride LASO members have on how hard students work to prepare for graduation.

“This event is important because we showcase AU students who are preparing to graduate as a way to motivate the students who are continuing to work on their degrees,” said Eva Serrano, LASO’s Faculty Advisor. “Our efforts as a dynamic student club are measured by they ways that we support students towards the completion of their degrees.”

LASO promotes academic success of its members through their leadership development, networking skills and community service, and acknowledges that the price of educational excellence requires sacrifice, struggle and desire.

The students were proud to welcome alumni to the event, expressing their appreciation for the inspiration alumni provide as the graduating seniors move on to launch professional careers and enter graduate school. LASO members also were excited for the opportunity to listen to keynote speaker Annette Martinez, Vice President of Operations, Human Resources for State Farm, an authentic leader and strong role model for other professionals who believe wholeheartedly in paying it forward.

Graduating seniors were recognized and all received a coffee mug as token of appreciation. The Latino Alumni Líderes Award was also presented to sophomore Julia Ochoa. The award was established three years ago under the leadership of AU alumni and former LASO members to recognize an undergraduate LASO student who demonstrates unique leadership potential.

“This spirit of celebration and recognition is meant to be encouragement to continue the journey towards the completion of their college degrees,” said Serrano.  “Also, meeting and interacting with returning Latino and Latina alumni is a great opportunity to see opportunities for life after AU, and learn that it’s important to find ways to give back to an institution where students discover so much about themselves and the world in which they live.”