Aguila Award presentation
President Ricardo Romo (right) with Aguila Award presenters
WOAI-TV metereologist Maclovio Perez and Angela Angulo,
El Mundo newspaper executive director

UTSA president honored as Texas role model by Aguila Awards Foundation

(May 23, 2005)--The Aguila Awards Foundation (AAF), an Austin, Texas, organization established to honor role models in the Texas Hispanic community, recently announced its 2005 Aguila Award winners at its annual dinner and gala.

UTSA President Ricardo Romo received the 2005 Aguila Award for education. Awards also were presented in the categories of sports, music, community and business.

"The Aguila Awards Foundation is proud to have such talented individuals represent the Texas Latino community," said AAF Executive Director Roxana Estrada. "We feel it is important that we honor these individuals for their contributions to Texas and it is essential these successful role models be recognized in their own communities."

A native of San Antonio's West Side, Romo became the fifth UTSA president in May 1999. Since assuming leadership, the university has become an institution of first choice for students seeking a college degree. With Romo and the university's faculty, staff and students, UTSA is one of the fastest growing institutions of higher education in the nation and is poised to become one of the state's premier research schools.

The winner of the sports award is Austin golf professional Omar Uresti, who began his career with a hole-in-one at age eight. His passion for golf earned him a seat on the University of Texas at Austin golf team. After college, Uresti has led an illustrious career in professional golf, garnering his first nationwide tour victory at the 1994 Nike Shreveport Open. Faring well in many tournaments across the United States, Uresti most recently participated in the 2004 PGA Tour, which included a top-10 finish at the Sony Open in Hawaii.

The Aguila Award for music went to the group, Vallejo. Raised in the small town of El Campo, Texas, the Vallejo brothers formed their band in 1990. Of Guatemalan and Mexican roots, the brothers were exposed to the Latin sounds of Tito Puente, Herb Alpert and Santana, among many others, and formed the alternative band with an eclectic sound of guitar riffs and Latin rhythms. The group recently created the VMG (Vallejo Music Group) recording label.

The community award was presented to Roy Lozano's Ballet Folklorico de Texas, an Austin nonprofit, dance service organization with a multi-ethnic professional company, a junior troupe for children ages 10-16 and a dance school for children five years and older.

This year's business award went to CommuniCard LLC, an Austin company founded and led by Sylvia Acevedo. A bilingual industrial engineer who grew up as a first-generation American in a Spanish-speaking home, Acevedo developed CommuniCards to reduce the Spanish-English language barrier. The laminated, passport-sized guides unfold with step-by-step illustrations of tasks and tools for construction, lawn care and housekeeping tasks -- requiring no translation, reference books or knowledge of pronunciation. Acevedo recently developed CommuniCards for police departments to use during traffic stops.

The Aguila Awards Foundation was established in 2003 to create awareness of positive examples and role models throughout the Texas Hispanic community. The foundation allows the public to cast votes online for their favorite candidates in several award categories.

For more information, visit the Aguila Awards Web site or call (512) 335-7776.

--Tim Brownlee

University Communications
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