Agapito Mendoza Scholarship Breakfast

In 2005, UMKC established a fund to directly support Latina/o/Hispanic students with tuition, books and housing. To simultaneously inspire and educate these scholars, the fund was named after our local hero, Agapito Mendoza, who lived for family, education and Latino culture. Campus and community members of all backgrounds admired his leadership on and off campus.

MendozaBorn in 1946 to Cosme and Tomasa Mendoza in El Paso, Texas, Agapito was the youngest brother to seven older siblings. He married Irene on June 13, 1970, who he professedly loved since he first saw her at the age of 10 during a little league game. He served in the U.S. Air Force to pay for his undergraduate education, then as a middle school teacher to earn his Masters. Ultimately, Augie earned a Ph.D. in Business Administration and meanwhile, he and Irene had two sons, Gabriel and Xavier. He served as Assistant Director of Student Services and Director of the Latino Cultural House at the University of Illinois before coming to Kansas City to serve as UMKC’s Vice Provost for Affirmative Action from 1986-2002 during which time he was instrumental in establishing Affirmative Action policies and procedures around academic hiring and very active in Latina/o issues in the community. He served on The Coalition of Hispanic Organizations, the Greater Kansas City Committee on Latino Concerns, as an appointee on the Desegregation monitoring committee by the Federal Court in Kansas City, on the boards of Cabot Westside Clinic, the Guadalupe Center, Friends of the Library, and the Greater Kansas City National Conference of Christians and Jews, in addition to many other civic organizations. Despite all his engagements, those who knew him emphasize his remarkable ability to make every individual he knew feel valued.

Hear more from those who knew him:

By 2009, the Agapito Mendoza Scholarship Breakfast formally began to build upon celebrations of Augie’s life held by his family, friends and colleagues in the community in order to increase the funds for this competitive, freshmen scholarship worth $500 and eligible for renewal annually. Each breakfast honors Augie’s legacy of service, celebrates his love for Hispanic heritage, directly funds new scholars and highlights how his work continues across our community and our campus through keynote addresses by local Latina/o leaders.

Rita current headshot2016: Rita Valenciano

Rita Valenciano, a UMKC alumna, is currently a Conciliation Specialist for the Community Relations Service of the U.S. Department of Justice and responds to community conflicts in the Midwest Region with a focus on Kansas and Missouri. Prior to this position, she conducted diversity training for the REACH Center and for the Anti-Defamation League, both national civil rights and cultural diversity organizations. Extending her list of community contributions, Ms. Valenciano has also been the Executive Director of APOYO (Assistance to Parents of Youth Organization) a family support and education program provider for predominantly Spanish-speaking parents in Kansas City, Kansas, served as president of the Coalition of Hispanic Organizations (COHO), MANA de Kansas City and the Guadalupe Center, and as Chair of the Kansas-Missouri Advisory Board of Project Equality, Inc. She is a member of Sacred Heart/Guadalupe Church and resides in Kansas City, Missouri.

View the 8th Annual Agapito Mendoza Breakfast here.
Adriana Pecina2015: Adriana Pecina

Adriana Pecina has served as a program officer of the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City (HCF) for the past eight years. HCF is a foundation dedicated to improving access and quality of health for the uninsured and underserved individuals in a six-county service area in Missouri and Kansas. Prior to joining HCF, Pecina spent 14 years at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and served as director in education and community Initiatives. Pecina currently serves as commissioner of the Kansas City Health Commission, member of the Kansas City’s Cultural Competency Initiative Leadership Planning Council, member and former chair of the Food Policy Coalition of Greater Kansas City Steering Committee and co-chair of The Catalyst Fund for KCPS Students education foundation.

View the 7th Annual Agapito Mendoza Breakfast here.
Theresa Torres2014: Theresa Torres

Dr. Theresa Torres is Associate Professor in the Latina/Latino Studies Program and Department of Sociology at UMKC. She received a Ph. D. in Anthropology and Religious Studies from Catholic University in 2003. Her areas of expertise include Latino Studies, Sociology, immigration, race and ethnic relations, religious studies, and gender studies. The author of several publications, a few of her works include “A Latina Testimonio: Challenges as an Academic, Issues of Difference, and a Call for Solidarity with White Female Academics” and The Paradox of Latina Religious Leadership in the Catholic Church, her most recent work. She currently serves on the boards of several nonprofit organizations that give back to the Hispanic community such as, the Guadalupe Center, Guadalupe Education System, and the Curriculum Committee, and delights in helping students engage in community service learning projects and internships. In 2014, Dr. Torres received the Dr. Thomas E. Purcell Award for her outstanding contributions to the Guadalupe Center.
 Jean Paul Chaurand2013: Jean-Paul Chaurand

President Jean-Paul Chaurand is the Chief Operating Officer for both Guadalupe Centers Inc. and Guadalupe Education System. Prior to joining GCI, Mr. Chaurand served as the Senior Vice President for the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation and Executive Director of the Hispanic Economic Development Corporation. Chaurand earned a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Affairs from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and an M.B.A. from UMKC’s Bloch School Executive MBA Program. Chaurand serves as a member of the University’s Hispanic Advisory Board. He is also a member of the Bloch School Executive Education Advisory Board and President of the Kansas City Board of Park and Recreation Commissioners. Previously, he served as Senior Vice President of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, a public charity foundation that aims to improve the quality of life in Greater Kansas City through charity initiatives. In 2009, Chauraund was selected as one of Ingram’s Magazine Forty under Forty.
Miguel Carranza2012: Miguel Carranza

Dr. Miguel Carranza serves as the Director of the interdisciplinary Latina/Latino Studies program and as Professor of Sociology and Latina/Latino Studies at UMKC. Dr. Carranza received a Ph.D. and M.A. in Sociology from the University of Notre Dame. He received his B.A. in Education from Kearney State College (now the University of Nebraska at Kearney). He previously served as Professor of Sociology and Ethnic Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His research has centered on the fields of Chicano, Latino and Mexican-American Studies and Ethnic Studies, with a focus on Latino children, mentoring, Midwestern Latina/Latino and Chicana/Chicano communities, immigration, and language attitudes. He was presented with the NAACP Leola Bullock Distinguished Community Service Award by the NAACP Lincoln branch. In 2009, he was appointed by Secretaries of the Department of Health & Human Services and Department of Labor to the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) national Working Group.
Uzziel Pecina2011: Uzziel Pecina

Dr. Uzziel Pecina is Assistant Clinical Professor of UMKC’s School of Education. He received a B.A. in Modern Languages and a M.S. in Urban Education from Kansas State University and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from the University of Missouri – Columbia. Dr. Pecina is a Board Member on the UMKC Hispanic Advisory Board, as well as Program Coordinator for the Division of Educational Leadership. His areas of expertise include urban education and Hispanic and Latino Education. One of his efforts in reaching out to the Latino community in Kansas City is familiarizing students from the UMKC Institute for Urban Education with the urban core of the city. His summer community immersion course prepares students for teaching ethnically and socioeconomically diverse students, especially in the Kansas City Metropolitan area. Amongst Dr. Pecina’s publications are Portrait of Canada and the United States: How These Two Countries are Reflected in Children’s Social Studies Textbooks. Pecina is a member of Trio Aztlan, an adored local Latin music group that he began thirteen years ago.
Carlos Salazar2010: Carlos Salazar

Carlos Salazar is the Vice President of Community Engagement at the United Way of Greater Kansas City. A UMKC alumnus, he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Missouri – Kansas City in 1978. He was previously Executive Director for Project Equality and the Hispanic Economic Development Corporation, two organizations dedicated to improving lives and cultural understanding. The 2010 keynote speaker for the Agapito Mendoza Scholarship Breakfast, Salazar is passionate about issues that affect the Hispanic community and is focused on creating initiatives that build stronger communities. He served as the UMKC Hispanic Advisory Board Chair from 2010 through the summer of 2015.
Consuelo Cruz2009: Consuelo Cruz

Consuelo Cruz is an alumna of UMKC, where she received a Master of Arts in Romance Languages, Literature, and Linguistics. She also received a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Language and Literature and a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Rockhurst University. Cruz is currently the Marketing and Community Relations Manager for Belger Cartage Services. Prior to her current position, she served as the Director of Development, as well as, the Director of the Latino Cultural Arts Division at Mattie Rhodes Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing quality healthcare to the diverse community of Greater Kansas City, Missouri. With a passion for Latino Studies and enrichment, she was the keynote speaker for the Agapito Mendoza Scholarship Breakfast in 2009. She is also a member of UMKC’s Hispanic Advisory Board, an organization that empowers the Hispanic community to attain educational excellence and improve their campus environment.