UPRAA closes the year recognizing its Founding Members!


UPRAA Founding Members from left: Ms. Grace Dewan, Mr. Tomás Esterrich, Ms. Sara Clemente, Mr. Mario Acosta, Dr. Jacob Lozada, and Dr. Margarita Benítez. 

During a special celebration at the Embassy of Italy in Washington, D,C., UPRAA celebrated its last event of the year with a well-deserved recognition of its founding members for their contributions and continued support to the development of our alumni organization and the educational goals of our Hispanic youth. UPRAA’s Vice-President, Jose O. Torres, welcomed all in attendance saying, “tonight we celebrate all our great accomplishments during this year and to recognize the founding members who had the vision to make something bigger than themselves, make a difference in the lives of our youth, and to give back as they once received.”

The group of 13 University of Puerto Rico graduates came together in 2003 with a vision to establish an organization in which University of Puerto Rico Alumni and Friends located in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area could converge in fraternal union to foster common interests and support charitable and scholarship programs. The founding members established an interim Board of Directors, completed the incorporation of the Association, and submitted the application for tax exemption, as prescribed by Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service Code. By November 2003, at a reception held at the Hall of the Americas at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, DC, the President of the University of Puerto Rico and the UPRAA Interim Board of Directors, officially launched the Association led by its first President Dr. Jacob Lozada. “A dream come true; it feels like a well-anticipated class reunion,” Dr. Lozada commented.

Members of this exclusive group of professionals included Ms. Betty Paugh, Mr. Mario Acosta-Vélez, Dr. Margarita Benítez, Ms. Sara Clemente, Ms. Grace Dewan, Mr. Tomás Esterrich, Ms. Nalini Lamba-Nieves, Dr. Jacob Lozada, Mr. Adán Rodríguez-Arroyo, Mr. Armando Valdés-Prieto, Mr. José Vega, Mr. Javier Vélez-Arrocho, and Ms. Loida Velilla. The founding members continue to support the efforts of the organization and serve as mentors to current board members.

Robert Alvarez, Member of the Board of Directors, said that “UPRAA continues to offer programs geared to make a difference in the Hispanic Community” and invited all to be a part of it. As part of the Combined Federal Campaign, UPRAA provides all federal employees with the opportunity to provide charitable contributions to UPRAA’s Scholarship fund. UPRAA also highlighted Hispanic women during its Women Leadership Series for their distinguished careers and for serving as examples for our youth. UPRAA offers many sponsorship opportunities during all its events to include its primary fundraising event, the Hispanic Heritage Golf event at Andrews Air Force Base during the month of September.

Jose Torres announced that in 2017, UPRAA is launching its mentoring program to enhance our youth educational growth and to provide our members with ways to serve and opportunities to volunteer. UPRAA appreciates the support received throughout 2016 and asks you to join in our effort to make the difference in our youth lives in the upcoming year.

Click here to view pictures of the event!

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