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"Desperate Housewives" Star Ricardo Chavira
Among Honorees at UCSD's Fiesta De Las Estrellas

By Judy Piercey | April 10, 2006

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UCSD will honor “Desperate Housewives” actor Ricardo Chavira, MFA ’00, for Alumni Excellence at the April 13 Fiesta de las Estrellas celebration of Latino leadership.

On Thursday, attendees at UCSD's Fiesta de las Estrellas scholarship benefit will have a chance to meet actor Richard Chavira of “Desperate Housewives” and Lisette Diaz, the current Miss World and UCSD student, along with local community leaders. But the real stars of the evening will be the university’s scholarship winners, representing a new generation of Latino leadership. The celebration will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the UCSD Price Center Ballroom..

Fiesta de las Estrellas was created by the UCSD Hispanic Scholarship Council to raise scholarship funds for students, while also recognizing the achievements of the local community “Estrellas” – outstanding San Diego leaders who are making a difference for Latinos. This year’s Estrellas are:

  • Alumni Excellence: Ricardo Chavira, MFA ’00, actor, “Desperate Housewives”
  • Excellence in Leadership: Jose Betancourt,
    Rear Admiral, Retired
  • Excellence in Healthcare: Irma Cota,
    CEO of North County Health Services
  • Excellence in Community Services: Carmen Delgadillo, founder of Friends of Scott
  • Excellence in Organizations: La Cuna Inc., dedicated to finding adoptive homes for Latino children.

“UC San Diego fees have increased approximately 75% in the past five years,” said Joseph Watson, vice chancellor of Student Affairs at UCSD. “Dollars raised at the annual Fiesta de las Estrellas event create educational opportunities for San Diego’s young Latino men and women who have great promise, but limited resources. With current fees, room and board at almost $21,000, this valuable program helps bright students with high financial need achieve their dream of a UCSD education.”

Latinos receive the lowest average federal aid awards of any racial or ethnic group, according to a report released in August 2005 by Excelencia in Education and the Institute for Higher Education Policy. Latino students rely heavily on federal aid and on grants in particular, according to the report, given that they are more likely to be first-generation college students (49 percent) and to have relatively low family incomes.
Now in its ninth year, Fiesta de las Estrellas has raised nearly $600,000 to provide undergraduate multi-year scholarships that have changed the lives of 58 deserving students. Out of 20,679 total UCSD undergraduates in the fall quarter of 2005, 11% were Mexican American or Latino.

Added Adrian Gutierrez, UCSD Junior and a Hispanic Scholarship Council Chancellor's Scholar, “Being Hispanic, we’re underrepresented in the UC system, or higher-level education for that matter, so I felt that even with the barriers that held me back – financial and ethnic – that this scholarship meant I could represent my ethnic group. I got into UCLA and Berkeley, but this scholarship was the main reason why I chose UCSD.”

Presenting Sponsor for the 2006 Fiesta de las Estrellas program is Union Bank of California. Media Sponsor is 10News/Azteca America San Diego. Estrella Sponsors include Alan Swinney ’89; BAE SYSTEMS; The Jack in the Box Foundation; Luce Forward, Hamilton & Scripps LLP; and Sempra Energy. Fiesta Sponsors are HSBC-North America, Darden Restaurants, QUALCOMM Incorporated and Sycuan Resort & Casino. Community Sponsors include Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Community Health Group; Cox Communications; Dudek and Associates; Gen-Probe, Inc; HDR Engineering, Inc.; Mike Najera; North Island Credit Union; Perez & Wilson, LLP; Puente International; San Ysidro Health Center; SDG&E; SDSU; Barbara Saltman; UCSD Chancellor’s Office; UCSD Student Affairs; UCSD School of Medicine and UCSD Resource Planning; Wachovia Education Finance; and Comerica/Washington Mutual.

Those interested in attending the 2006 Fiesta de las Estrellas event or supporting UCSD’s Hispanic Scholarship Council are invited to contact Claudia Ehrlich, UCSD Associate Director of Development, Student Affairs, at (858) 822-1537 or cehrlich@ucsd.edu. Funds raised by Fiesta de las Estrellas contribute to The Campaign for UCSD: Imagine What’s Next, a $1 billion comprehensive fundraising initiative that will conclude in 2007.

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