Greater Kansas City Hispanic Scholarship Fund Awards Set for June 7

Record-breaking $350,000 will be given to 229 students

The University of Missouri-Kansas City will host the 2012 Greater Kansas City Hispanic Scholarship Fund Awards on Thursday, June 7, at UMKC’s James C. Olson Performing Arts Center from 5:30 to 8 p.m. The ceremony marks a record-breaking year for both organizations.

This year, 45 of the 229 scholarship winners have chosen to attend UMKC — up from 34 students last year, which at the time was a record breaker. The fund will provide more than $350,000 to the award recipients. In collaboration with the Hispanic Development Fund, UMKC matches the scholarships of Hispanic Scholarship Fund recipients who choose to attend the university.

The rise in interest is good news for UMKC. For years, the university has worked to increase its Hispanic/Latino student population. Stancia Jenkins, assistant vice chancellor of community and public affairs, says that those efforts are paying off.

“Each year, we’ve seen an increase in students who are opting to use their scholarship dollars to attend UMKC,” Jenkins said.

The awards ceremony is a key component in the university’s strategic efforts to partner with the Latino community. This year’s event will be open to the public. Individual tickets are $25. To purchase tickets, contact Sonia Aguirre at or 816-533-5720.

Carlos Ojeda, Jr., president and CEO of CoolSpeak, will provide the keynote address. CoolSpeak is a youth engagement company that provides speakers, programs and events geared toward motivating middle school, high school and college students.

For the 45 students who have chosen to attend UMKC, the matching scholarship is just one of the ways that they can expect to be supported. In addition to student support groups, the university has also started Avanzando, a mentorship program which pairs Hispanic/Latino students with a community and faculty member.

Avanzando is the result of a partnership between UMKC’s Division of Diversity, Access and Equity and the Hispanic Development Fund. Avanzando marries academic support with mentoring and enhanced access to resources.

“Recruiting is just the first step. Student success is our primary goal, so we work at making sure we provide students with the tools and support they need to succeed,” Jenkins said.

Over the past few years, UMKC has made significant strides in its efforts to increase its Hispanic student population. Overall Hispanic/Latino enrollment increased by 55.8% from Fall 2007 to Fall 2011. In that same four-year span, the number of Hispanic/Latino students receiving scholarships and grants from UMKC has increased 78 percent.

About the University of Missouri-Kansas City

The University of Missouri-Kansas City, one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 15,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience. For more information about UMKC, visit You can also find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and watch us on YouTube.

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