SAAHJ celebrates 19th annual scholarship and awards gala

The San Antonio Association of Hispanic Journalists (SAAHJ) celebrated the 19th Annual Scholarship and Awards Gala on Saturday, July 15, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel was one for the record books. Guests were entertained by the ever-popular Urban-15 and welcomed to the event by Mayor Ron Nirenberg, who addressed the sold-out crowd by video.

The highlight of the evening was the awarding of $35,500 in scholarships to 11 outstanding students from San Antonio. The big surprise of the evening was an $11,000 donation from Guillermo Nicolas. For the second year in a row, Nicolas bestowed an additional $1,000 to each scholarship recipient bringing the grand total of scholarships awarded to $46,500. Thanks to generous gala sponsors and SAAHJ friends, these students will continue their educational pursuits in journalism and communications at schools across Texas.

A committee of news media and communications professionals selected the 2017 recipients. SAAHJ hopes that this group of ethnically diverse students will join us in newsrooms to advance our profession and include that diversity in the sources they encounter for their stories.

2017 Scholarship Recipients:
• Benito R. Davila, University of Texas at Austin, Radio-Television-Film
• Alexandro Luna, Texas A&M University – San Antonio, Journalism
• Gabrielle Estrada, University of the Incarnate Word, Communication Arts
• Mileena Juarez, University of the Incarnate Word, Communication Arts
• Daniela Ibarra, University of North Texas, Broadcast and Digital Journalism
• Kailey Lopez, Trinity University, Broadcast Journalism
• Steal Adcock, St. Mary’s University, Communication Studies
• Renee Muniz, University of the Incarnate Word, Communications Arts – Journalism
• Guadalupe “Wally” Perez, Texas State University, Journalism
• Laurie Jones, Southwest School of Art, Photojournalism
• Kyle Cotton, University of Texas at Arlington, Journalism

In addition to the scholarship presentation, each year SAAHJ presents awards to journalists and community members recognized for their outstanding contributions to the profession and to the community. The 2017 recipients were CNN Senior White House Correspondent Jim Acosta recipient of the Corazon de Oro Award, retired veteran journalist John Gonzalez, San Antonio Express-News, recipient of the Henry Guerra Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Journalism and RAICES, recipient of the SAAHJ Community Service Award.

The 2017 Scholarship & Awards Gala Sponsors were:
• Platinum – KENS 5 San Antonio
• Gold – Telemundo 60 San Antonio, Silver Eagle Distributers, Valero Energy Foundation and Chevrolet.
• Silver – AARP Texas, Gonzaba Medical Group, Gerardo Hernandez, Kathy Hill, San Antonio Express-News, University Health System, Univision Communications and WellMed Medical Management.

The 2017 SAAHJ Board are:

• Joey Palacios – Texas Public Radio / President

• Nora Lopez – San Antonio Express-News / Vice President

• Tony Quesada – San Antonio Business Journal / Secretary

• Angelica Garza – The Lupus Foundation of America, Lone Star Chapter / Treasurer

• Sergio Chapa – San Antonio Business Journal / At-Large Print

• Margaret Garcia – University of the Incarnate Word / At-Large Communications

• Diego Aparicio – Telemundo San Antonio / At-Large Broadcast

Gala tri-Chairs Tessa Benavides, H-E-B, Elaine Ayala, San Antonio Express News and Angelica Garza of the Lupus Foundation led the 2017 Gala Committee who were responsible for the success of the 2017 event.

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CONTACT: Margaret Garcia, 2017 SAAHJ Board – At Large Communications, mlgarci2@uiwtx.edu or (210) 805-3589