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Sara Martinez Tucker to deliver address during 122nd spring University of Texas at Austin commencement

Sara Martinez Tucker, president and chief executive officer of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, the nation’s leading organization supporting Hispanic higher education, will be the speaker for the 122nd Spring Commencement at The University of Texas at Austin on May 21.

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AUSTIN, Texas—Sara Martinez Tucker, president and chief executive officer of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, the nation’s leading organization supporting Hispanic higher education, will be the speaker for the 122nd Spring Commencement at The University of Texas at Austin on May 21.

Martinez Tucker will speak at the university-wide commencement ceremony on campus at 8 p.m. on May 21. The ceremony is the culmination of commencement activities in the colleges, schools and departments across the campus, May 20-21.

Sara Martinez Tucker

Sara Martinez Tucker

“Each year we invite a commencement speaker distinguished by great achievement and the ability to motivate and inspire,” said Dr. Larry R. Faulkner, president of the university. “Sara Martinez Tucker has made an enormous difference in the lives of thousands of young people through her work as chief executive of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund. Sara’s impressive personal story and her important work in education and beyond will make her an outstanding speaker for the 2005 Spring Commencement at The University of Texas at Austin.”

A native of Laredo, Texas, Sara Martinez Tucker received her undergraduate degree in journalism, with honors, from The University of Texas at Austin. She became a general assignments reporter for the San Antonio Express before returning to The University of Texas at Austin to earn a Master of Business Administration degree. She has served on the university’s Commission of 125, the Chancellor’s Council of the University of Texas System, and as a member of the advisory councils of the colleges of Natural Sciences and Communication.

Since its inception in 1975, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund has awarded more than 73,000 scholarships, totaling nearly $170 million, to deserving students attending 1,700 universities and colleges throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam.

Under Martinez Tucker’s leadership, the organization’s support for Hispanic students has dramatically increased and expanded. The Hispanic Scholarship Fund distributed nearly $35 million in its first 22 years. It has awarded an additional $135 million in the past eight years. The additional support has enabled the Hispanic Scholarship Fund to increase annual scholarship giving from $3 million in 1996 to more than $25 million in each of the last three years.

Martinez Tucker also created and initiated new support programs to put more Hispanics in the college education pipeline. The new programs transformed the Hispanic Scholarship Fund’s focus beyond college retention. The organization initiated outreach programs to engage parents (Project LEAD), increase college expectation in Latino families and within the Hispanic community (Town Hall Meetings) and help students prepare for college (Steps-for-Success). The Hispanic Scholarship Fund also has community college transfer and graduating high school senior scholarship programs. The organization has introduced peer support networks on campuses (HSF Scholar Chapters). To assist these students, the organization also started the HSF Alumni Network.

Prior to joining the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, Martinez Tucker spent 16 years at ATandT, becoming the first Hispanic female to reach the company’s executive level. She is a founding board member of the National Center for Educational Accountability and the National Scholarship Providers Association. Martinez Tucker is also a member of the Steering Committee for the Council for Aid to Education, a RAND subsidiary dedicated to the promotion of higher education. In recent years she has used her business skills to convince corporations that supporting higher education is a worthwhile investment for companies as well as for the nation’s future.

In April 2003, Martinez Tucker was chosen as one of America’s Top 80 Elite Hispanic Women by Hispanic Business magazine. In March 2002, the readers of HispanicOnline.com honored her with the Latino’s Choice Award for Favorite Hispanic Leader. Since 2001, Martinez Tucker has been a member of the seven-person North American Diversity Advisory Board of Toyota Motor Corporation. She was named the 2000 Hispanic of the Year by Hispanic Magazine. In 1999, Martinez Tucker was included in Hispanic Business magazine’s 100 Most Influential Hispanics for the third consecutive year. In 1998, she received Hispanic Magazine’s Heritage Achievement Award for Education.

Martinez Tucker has an honorary doctorate in law from the University of Notre Dame and will accept an honorary degree from Boston College in May 2005.

For more information, visit the Commencement 2005 Web site.

For more information contact: Robert D. Meckel, Office of Public Affairs, 512-475-7847.