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Owens and Spanish American Organization Establish New Latino Endowed Scholarship Program
Owens State Community College Foundation and the Spanish American Organization are entering into a partnership, establishing a $25,000 endowed scholarship program to enhance academic opportunities for area residents within the Latino community. This marks the first Latino-based endowed scholarship to be established through the Foundation.
"Owens Community College appreciates the commitment that the Spanish American Organization has made to higher education and the Latino community," said Gary Dettling, Owens Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer. "This partnership is a continuation of the College's ongoing efforts to provide the maximum amount of choices for students to fund their college education."
Dettling added, "The initial $25,000 investment in Latino scholarships is just the beginning as Owens looks to new and unique ways of opening more doors for students to pursue academic excellence."
Owens serves as Northwest Ohio's number one choice in higher education for the Latino community. On the Toledo-area and Findlay-area Campuses, Owens' Latino enrollment for the Fall Semester is 768 students. In comparison, 445 Latino students are attending the University of Toledo and 542 students are enrolled at Bowling Green State University during the current fall term.
"The Spanish American Organization is proud to partner with Owens and establish an endowment, which will provide additional opportunities for Latinos to attain their goals and dreams," said Robert Salazar, President of the Spanish American Organization. "Our organization firmly believes supporting educational initiatives are crucial to the future of Northwest Ohio's Latino heritage. I see this new scholarship program as a win-win partnership for both organizations and the community."
According to Salazar, one of the reasons the Spanish American Organization chose Owens is because of their unmatched affordability. "By investing in Owens, the new Latino scholarships will fund a significant amount of the recipient's education because of the substantial lower tuition costs compared to other area colleges or universities."
Selection criteria for the new scholarship program will be based upon recipients being of Latino heritage and a resident in either Lucas or Wood counties. Individuals also must be a full-time Owens student and achieve a cumulative 2.0 GPA. The first scholarships will be awarded for Fall Semester 2004.
The Spanish American Organization was created in 1994 with the overall mission of promoting Hispanic awareness within the Northwest Ohio community. The non-profit organization is comprised of 40 community leaders dedicated to fostering unity and educational values among Spanish-speaking Americans.
Since its incorporation in 1995, the organization has awarded over $10,000 for scholarships benefiting the Latino community. This past July, the Spanish American Organization and "La Prensa" co-sponsored a Latino Scholarship Day at Fifth Third Field to support Latino educational programs. Spanish American Organization's proceeds from the event will go towards the new endowed scholarship program.
For Owens' students, like sophomore Connie Ramirez of Perrysburg, the creation of this new scholarship program will afford more Latinos the opportunity to attend college. "I think this is a wonderful program, which will help to offset the financial costs of attending school. The scholarships make higher education an affordable option."
The Owens State Community College Foundation was incorporated in April 2002 and has approximately $1.5 million in assets. The Foundation Board of Directors currently is comprised of 20 community leaders from Lucas, Wood and Hancock counties.
The mission of the Owens Foundation and its Board of Directors is cultivating gift initiatives, targeting successful alumni, business and industry members who are committed to investing and supporting the educational needs of current and future Owens Community College students. The Foundation's focus allows Owens to continue offering affordable tuition, ensuring the College's academic position as the best investment in Northwest Ohio. Over $97,000 in Foundation scholarships and program support was awarded to 110 Owens students exemplifying academic excellence and leadership during the 2002-2003 academic year.
Owens, this past year, also has awarded over $38 million in grants, scholarships, loans and federal work-study to support the educational needs of students. In addition, the College's Board of Trustees provided more than $92,000 in scholarships to 92 students through its Academic Excellence Program.
Owens Community College is the fastest-growing higher educational institution in Northwest Ohio with 26 consecutive semesters of enrollment increases. On the Toledo-area and Findlay-area campuses, Owens serves more than 40,000 credit and non-credit students making it the number one choice for new college students. Owens is committed to providing small classes, personal attention and unmatched affordability. Owens Community College offers over 130 program areas in Agriculture, Business, Fine and Performing Arts, Health, Public Service, Skilled Trades, Industrial and Engineering Technologies. Owens students also can earn the first two years of a bachelor 's degree with a smooth transfer to any area four-year college or university.