The executive committee of The Goizueta Foundation recently approved a grant of $850,000 for Reinhardt College. The grant adds to The Goizueta Foundation Scholars Fund, an endowment established at Reinhardt by a gift from The Goizueta Foundation in 2004. The Fund provides need-based scholarship assistance annually for Hispanic/Latino students who attend Reinhardt and currently reside in the United States.
"The continued support from The Goizueta Foundation permits the College to meet the educational needs of our wonderful Hispanic students, and to reach further into the community and to be of even greater service," Reinhardt President Dr. J. Thomas Isherwood said. "This is the second award to Reinhardt from The Foundation, and is recognition of the dedication and service offered by our faculty and staff to all of our students."
Viviana C. Baxter, Reinhardt associate professor of Spanish language and education, was very enthusiastic about the grant -- just as she was when The Foundation first supported the College three years ago. "All aspects of college life thrive with diversity," she said. "Our community benefits from diverse cultures, traditions, points of view, thoughts and beliefs of others. In this global society, we can learn from each other.
"Reinhardt is very fortunate to have been awarded this grant. It will enable Hispanic students to fulfill their dreams and achieve their potential. These opportunities are readily available for all students and sometimes taken for granted by many.
"As part of the recruiting process, I am fulfilled by meeting the Hispanic candidates who qualify for this grant as the committee gets a sense of their purpose in life, their hard work, their family values-- and most inspiring of all is their willingness to succeed against many odds," Baxter continued. "Once a candidate is selected and the student lives as a member of our Reinhardt community, I am rewarded by their academic and social achievements. Living in times when politicians have a role to play and communities focus on undocumented aliens, it makes me proud to be a Hispanic professor at Reinhardt, whose mission -- seeks to educate the whole person by developing the intellectual, social, personal, vocational, spiritual/moral and physical dimensions of its students.'"
The College has had four grant recipients thus far. Cristina Hernandez was the first Reinhardt student awarded with the scholarship, and she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in business administration/management with cum laude honors in December 2005. Current Goizueta Foundation Scholars include Nallely Zuniga, Carlos Mejia and Francisco Ortega.
"It was the only door that was actually open for me," said Zuniga, a junior Mexico City native who has lived in Ellijay, Ga., since age 13. "I thought I was not going to be able to go to college, and it wasn't because of my grades or anything like that, but because I didn't have a lot of possibilities due to my immigration status. But the Goizueta scholarship pretty much saved my life and made my dreams come true, and I am very thankful.
"I really love school. I want to be a teacher. I'm enjoying Reinhardt and taking advantage of it. I'm making good grades, and that's part of the way that I want to show that I'm thankful for The Goizueta Foundation scholarship. I'm not wasting my time here."
Zuniga certainly has made herself known on Reinhardt's Waleska, Ga., campus. She has been involved in several organizations while commuting from Ellijay, where she also holds a part-time job at a Mexican restaurant. In 2007-08, Zuniga will serve the College as the student government association vice president of administration.
Mejia is a sophomore originally from Guatemala who now resides in Kennesaw, Ga., while Ortega is a freshman from Peru who currently calls Canton, Ga., his home. Both Mejia and Ortega are members of the Reinhardt men's soccer team.
"I thank Reinhardt for the opportunity to receive this grant; I'm sure there are a lot of people out there who wish to be in college, or have the opportunity to attend college and get a further education than high school," said Mejia, who has lived in the United States the past nine years. "I'm thankful to Reinhardt College, my family and all of the people who helped me achieve this goal."
Ortega, a newcomer to the Reinhardt campus, was extremely excited to have been awarded The Goizueta Foundation scholarship. "My family and my buddies told me about this scholarship that Reinhardt was providing to Hispanic people, and so I went for it," said Ortega, who has resided in Cherokee County for four years. "I wrote my essay and it was good enough, and then it was time for the interview -- that was the tough part -- but I got through with that and I'm very happy."
Founded in 1992 by Roberto C. Goizueta, chairman of the board of directors and chief executive officer of The Coca-Cola Company from 1981 until his death in 1997, The Goizueta Foundation assists organizations that empower individuals and families through educational opportunities to improve the quality of their lives. It aims to support educational programs that promote sustainable change and have a long-term impact in the community.
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