Valentine's Gala Raises Scholarship Funds to Help First-Generation College Students

The Sembradores de Austin Valentine's Ball, a formal gala supporting a scholarship program for underprivileged first-generation students at The University of Texas at Austin and three other central Texas universities, will be held Feb. 9 at the Omni Hotel South Park in Austin.

Ron Oliveira, anchor for KEYE-TV, Channel 42 in Austin, will be the master of ceremonies for the 5:30 p.m. Valentine's Day gala that, according to the organization's secretary, Hilbert R. Maldonado, has raised more than $412,500 for the endowment since the program began in Austin in 1995.

Maldonado said that from the beginning of the program through 2007, a 35 scholarships valued at $43,750 have been awarded to students in the four universities from interest earned on the endowment funds.

Preference for Sembradores scholarships is given to central Texas students who are among the first generation of their families to attend college and who qualify as being "financially and educationally disadvantaged," Maldonado said.

Maldonado said the Valentine's Ball is open to the public but seating is limited. Tickets for the dinner and dance must be purchased in advance and cannot be bought at the door. Tickets cost $90 each or $180 per couple. Sponsor tables cost $2,000 for a gold corporate table and $1,500 for a silver corporate table. For details, contact Maldonado at 512-689-4245.

Maldonado said gala proceeds go toward endowment funds at The University of Texas at Austin, Concordia University, Huston-Tillotson University and St. Edward's University. He said the proceeds build on the principal so that future awards would be secure and adequate regardless of economic conditions. Money from the endowment funds interest allocated to The University of Texas at Austin will become a part of the university's endowed presidential scholarship program.