Today, the Hector and Gloria López Foundation announced its first grant — a $1.7 million gift to benefit 15 UTEP students who will be known as López Scholars.
Story VIA UTEP
The gift will be administered by The University of Texas Foundation.
Beginning in fall 2022, López Scholars will receive support for tuition and fees, as well as other services including mentoring, tutoring, paid internships, leadership development and more, for up to five years. The goal of the program is to enable students to focus on their studies and not be distracted by common barriers.
“UTEP stands out as an education leader in Texas,” said Sergio Rodríguez, nephew of Hector and Gloria López, and president and CEO of the foundation that bears their name. “We selected UTEP because of its track record as a leading research university serving Latino students.”
Thirty-seven percent of UTEP’s faculty are Hispanic, the highest percentage among Carnegie ‘R1’ very high research universities. The student population is 84% Hispanic.
The University is also a founding member of the Alliance of Hispanic Serving Research Universities and has received the Seal of Excelencia, a designation which recognizes U.S. higher education institutions that intentionally serve Hispanic students and demonstrate positive student outcomes.
“With its focus on Hispanic student success, the Hector and Gloria López Foundation is well aligned with UTEP’s mission to expand educational opportunities to underserved students,” said UTEP President Heather Wilson. “We are thankful to the López Foundation for partnering with us to change students’ lives. As America’s leading Hispanic-serving university, UTEP is especially honored to be the first recipient of a López Foundation grant.”
“It’s so important that young Latinos see themselves at institutions of higher education and find a network of support that gets them across the finish line with a degree that will boost their economic opportunities,” said Rodríguez. “We are committed to colleges and universities with high numbers of Latino students and faculty, with proven success in building networks that help students succeed while they are in school and after they graduate.”
To become a López Scholar, applicants must be Hispanic, demonstrate financial need, be the first in their family to attend college and live in or have graduated from a high school in one of the five focus areas – El Paso, Austin, San Antonio, and communities in South Texas and the Rio Grande Valley. From the pool of candidates who meet this criteria, 15 López Scholars at UTEP will be selected prior to the fall 2022 semester without the need for an additional application, a minimum GPA or an SAT/ACT score.
“The fact that they are admitted is enough for us,” Rodriguez said. “We don’t need to put up another barrier in order to provide support.”
Hector and Gloria López, now deceased, left their accumulated land and financial assets to the foundation in 2021 with a mission to support post-secondary education for Latino students who are the first in their families to graduate from college or university and have demonstrated financial need. Their legacy stems from their business efforts and community involvement in Alice, Texas, where they led the GALO Cattle Company. Hector focused on the law and Gloria focused on the finances. Their partnership spanned over 60 years together.
“I’m sure that Hector and Gloria Lopez would have been proud knowing that the first ever foundation gift representing their life’s work will be directed to UT El Paso, one of our nation’s leading Hispanic-serving institutions,” said J.B. Milliken, Chancellor of The University of Texas System. “Along with the entire UTEP community, the UT System expresses profound gratitude to the Lopez Foundation for developing strong strategies to provide an array of educational and enriching experiences to first generation Hispanic college students.”