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Nearly 300 Guests Attend UCSD’s Fiesta de las Estrellas
Scholarship Benefit to Honor Latino Leadership

By Judy Piercey | April 24, 2006

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“Desperate Housewives” actor Ricardo Chavira, MFA ’00 received the Alumni Excellence Award at UCSD’s Fiesta de las Estrellas celebration of Latino leadership on April 13. Photo: Michael Aguilera Photography

Nearly 300 guests at UCSD's star-studded Fiesta de las Estrellas scholarship benefit had an opportunity to meet actor Ricardo Chavira of “Desperate Housewives” and Lisette Diaz, the current Miss World USA and UCSD student, along with local community and UCSD leadership.

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 event raised more than $100,000.

Honored as Estrellas were:

  • Alumni Excellence: Ricardo Chavira,
    MFA ’00, actor, “Desperate Housewives”
    Ricardo Chavira went from relative anonymity to international fame as the resident bad boy on ABC’s hit show, Desperate Housewives. Descended from a family of migrant workers, the value of education was stressed by both of Chavira’s parents – his mother earned three masters degrees, and his father, the first in his family to attend college, is now a judge. He received his undergraduate degree from San Antonio’s Incarnate Word College, and in 2000 received an MFA from UCSD’s highly regarded Professional Actor Training Program.
  • Excellence in Leadership: José Betancourt, Rear Admiral, Retired
    A retired Rear Admiral, José Betancourt is chief administrative officer for the San Diego City Schools. Most recently, he served as the Navy’s Commander for the Southwest Region, the most complex and innovative region in the country. He holds master’s degrees from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in Washington, D.C. He earned undergraduate degrees from Texas Southmost College and the University of Texas-Pan American, where he was named one of the most successful graduates in 2005.
  • Excellence in Healthcare: Irma Cota, CEO of North County Health Services
    Irma Cota has spent nearly 30 years in medical group management and program planning. A respected administrator, her dedication to excellence led North County Health Services to achieve the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) accreditation. Cota holds a bachelor’s degree in health science and a master’s degree in public health from San Diego State University, and certificates in health care executive leadership and in health care policy and administration. In 2005, San Diego Lifestyle Magazine named her one of “50 People to Watch.”
  • Excellence in Community Services:
    Carmen Delgadillo, founder of Friends of Scott
    Carmen Delgadillo moved to San Diego at age 18 to attend college and start a career at Cox Communications that has lasted 21 years. Her focus in life changed in 2000 when her youngest son, Scott, was diagnosed with leukemia. After fighting a brave battle, Scott died in 2001 at the age of 14. In 2003, she founded the Friends of Scott Foundation to ensure that children with cancer and their families receive the emotional and financial support necessary to cope with this devastating disease.
  • Excellence in Organizations:
    La Cuna Inc., dedicated to finding adoptive homes for Latino children.
    Two years ago, Rachel Humphreys started La Cuna – which means “crib” in Spanish – with only $35 in the agency's business bank account and no supporters. At that time there were more than 600 Latino infants and toddlers in San Diego’s foster care system and not enough homes. To address this need, she created the city’s first Latino-oriented foster family agency focused on children up to 5 years old. In May 2005, the agency placed its first infants into the loving arms of 14 quality parents.
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