President Saliman speaks at Latin American Educational Foundation event

CU community members also honored at 75th anniversary gala
By Staff

Photos from the Latin American Educational Foundation event

President Todd Saliman led a CU contingent that attended Saturday’s Latin American Educational Foundation (LAEF) gala, a celebration of the organization’s 75th anniversary.

Photos from the Latin American Educational Foundation event

CU served as Diamond Presenting Sponsor of the event, held at Infinity Park Event Center in Glendale.

In remarks delivered at the gala, Saliman noted the longstanding partnership between LAEF and CU, which matches LAEF scholarships at CU Boulder, CU Denver and UCCS. About a quarter of all LAEF scholars are CU students. The president also emphasized CU’s ongoing commitment to diversifying the campuses to reflect the state’s diversity.

Photos from the Latin American Educational Foundation event

Saliman was joined by Regent Mark VanDriel; Judi Díaz Bonacquisti, vice president and senior diversity officer; and Tony Salazar, vice president for outreach and engagement, who also is a longtime board member of LAEF and its immediate past board chair.

Two of the evening’s award recipients also have CU ties: Erika Bailon, a NASA software engineer and 2020 CU Boulder graduate, was the Legacy Alumni Honoree; and Luis Vargas, who will graduate in May from CU Denver with a public health degree, was the Ganas Scholar Honoree.

Photos from the Latin American Educational Foundation event

Other CU guests included Regina Rodriguez, CU Denver academic adviser; and Jeremy Jimenez, a former CU Boulder student tri-executive and current executive director of student success at Aurora Public Schools.

Established in 1949, LAEF is the oldest Latino scholarship organization in Colorado. It has awarded scholarships to over 7,000 students worth more than $7 million throughout its history. In the current academic year, LAEF awarded 128 scholarships to Latinx students across Colorado; 31 of those are students at CU campuses.

Photos from the Latin American Educational Foundation event

LAEF focuses on providing scholarship funding for students to mitigate financial barriers, offers on-going support and advisement to students and families, and creates pathways to pursue higher education. LAEF scholars maintain higher retention and graduation rates than peer students. Alumni include industry leaders, elected officials, and community leaders.

The LAEF board recently led a change in organizational leadership that resulted in rebranding, a new website, and an updated strategic plan. For the first time in several years, LAEF is pursuing an aggressive growth strategy to serve more students from the growing Latino community in Colorado.