UTEP joins national campaign to restore the American Dream

Veronique Masterson

UTEP

The University of Texas at El Paso has been selected as one of 12 colleges and universities to join a nationwide campaign to promote opportunity, social mobility and access to the American Dream.

UTEP leaders will work with businesses, educational institutions, nonprofits and military organizations to help form a plan to create better skills, jobs and communities through a national campaign called Opportunity Nation. The effort will be launched Nov. 3-4 in New York at the Opportunity Nation Summit. Several UTEP students, faculty and staff will attend the summit to begin planning for UTEP’s own Opportunity Nation event in May.

“For nearly a century, UTEP has provided a pathway to social and economic mobility for residents of this U.S.-Mexico border region, including large numbers of low-income and first-generation Hispanic students,” said UTEP President Diana Natalicio. “UTEP’s Opportunity Nation event in May 2012 will celebrate the powerful role that education plays in fulfilling the American Dream, and re-affirm UTEP’s commitment to ensure that all young people in this region have access to excellent higher education opportunities that will enable them to achieve their dreams.”

President Natalicio; UTEP alumna Dr. Willarda V. Edwards, the former president of the National Medical Association, and Woody Hunt, chairman and CEO of Hunt Companies Inc., were invited to join the Opportunity Nation Leadership Council. They will work with high-level officials such as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, TIME Magazine Managing Editor Rick Stengel and musician/producer Will.I.Am.

Three UTEP students will participate as Opportunity Nation Scholars. They are Ana Martinez, Kristine Velasquez and Jesus Smith. Edward Castañeda, Ph.D., professor and chair of UTEP’s Department of Psychology, also is involved.

UTEP already has started to plan its role in the campaign.

In May 2012, the University will host a two-day event called UTEP Opportunity Days. Through lectures, presentations and campus open-house celebrations, the event will showcase the University’s programs and serve as a major outreach initiative to expose students and their parents to the opportunities generated by a college education.

“UTEP sees itself as a model institution that can demonstrate to the country and world that we are doing some great things here so our students can have the social mobility and economic opportunities our education provides,” said Richard J. Daniel, Ph.D., assistant vice president for alumni and constituent relations and a campaign participant.

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