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STC Foundation Gala Sets the Stage for Continued Innovation, Student Success

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STC Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Economic Development Dr. Rodney Rodriguez served as host during his department’s inaugural gala. He stressed the importance of providing students with scholarships for higher educational success and showed his gratitude for those who continue to partner and collaborate with the college.
STC Foundation Board Chair Yvonne “Bonnie” Gonzalez addressed the more than 400 attendees during the STC Foundation Inaugural Gala. She thanked those in attendance for their continued support and for being an integral part of the STC Foundation family. STC Image

Texas Border Business

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By Amanda Sotelo

The South Texas College Foundation recently hosted its inaugural gala, a sold-out event that raised more than $200,000 for student scholarships.

The gala, set to become the largest fundraising event held by the college, was hosted at the Mission Event Center, with more than 400 guests in attendance, more than 40 of those were STC sponsors. 

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“With this gala, I am reminded of the power of unity, vision and commitment,” said Rodney Rodriguez, Ph.D., vice president of Institutional Advancement and Economic Development. “Tonight, is a promise to our students that we will provide the resources they need to succeed and a promise to the Rio Grande Valley that we are committed to changing lives for generations to come.”

STC Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Economic Development Dr. Rodney Rodriguez served as host during his department’s inaugural gala. He stressed the importance of providing students with scholarships for higher educational success and showed his gratitude for those who continue to partner and collaborate with the college. STC Image

Over the last year, the renewed STC Foundation and its newly appointed Foundation Board has raised nearly $1 million for student scholarships, with $600,000 pledged by philanthropic partners Economic Mobility Systems, RGV Focus, Ascendium, Greater Texas Foundation and Education Texas, for the college’s Promise Program. 

STC’s Promise Program is a last-dollar scholarship for STC dual-credit students who choose to continue their education at STC, to cover tuition gaps, not paid for by federal and state grants or scholarships, that will cover 100% of their tuition and fees beginning as soon as next fall.

STC’s Title Sponsor South Texas Health System and long-time industry partner, gave a donation of $55,000 prior to the gala, and at the event, presented the college with another $6,000 to go toward the Mary Killoran Scholarship Fund. 

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Killoran is a retired nurse practitioner and long-time South Texas Health System volunteer. Earlier this year, she donated $50,000 to the STC Foundation for nursing student scholarships, the first of an annual installment.

Interim Chief Executive Officer for South Texas Health System McAllen Andrew Wilson said several of their employees have gone through STC’s programs and giving back is their way to advocate for those employees and the future generations of the health care workforce. 

“South Texas College is a trusted partner for South Texas Health System,” said Wilson. “The partnership that we have to train health care professionals has really been a benefit not only to our system, but also our community. So, anything that we can do to contribute to the furtherment and development of new programs, we’re happy to help.” 

Also at the event, in a surprise announcement State Representative Terry Canales pledged another $100,000 to the foundation drawing a grand applause from those in attendance. 

Yvonne “Bonnie” Gonzalez, STC Foundation chair said the support she has seen from the community is immeasurable. 

“The contributions we have received have allowed us to make significant strides in providing the help and resources deserving students need to achieve their higher education goals,” she said. “Thank you to all our sponsors for making our inaugural gala a success and for your dedication to our mission which encourages us to continue to strive for excellence in providing access to quality education for all. You are an integral part of the STC Foundation family.” 

STC President Ricardo J. Solis, Ph.D., mirrors Gonzalez’s sentiments and said reactivating the STC Foundation was a monumental effort and the tireless work of Rodriguez, his staff and the STC Foundation Board have played a fundamental role in STC student success. 

“It is through the support of donors and industry partners, that STC is able to continue to innovate and provide our students with the latest programming that is unique to our college setting and that sets our students up for career success,” said Solis. “On this 30th year, we are reminded that STC was founded on a vision, and now it’s you, who are helping us continue this legacy. Thank you for your continued support.”   

STC Board Chair Rose Benavidez called the gala a celebration.

“This gala is a celebration of the efforts of every single resident and person who has served in any capacity to ensure that South Texas College was not just formed but was formed to create generational and transformational change in our community,” she said. “So, looking toward the future, this isn’t only about how we’re going to raise money, but how we’re going to invest it. This event is ensuring that every single person in this room, every donor, partner, collaborator, understands that this Foundation is eliminating a student’s uncertainty about ‘if’ they can go to college…now it’s ‘when’ they go to college.”

The night of elegance also included a silent and live auction, entertainment by the STC Music department and hors d’oeuvres and dessert prepared by STC’s Culinary Arts program.

To learn more about STC’s Foundation or to become a donor, call 956-872-2048.

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