award winner
From left are HACU representative John Moder, UTSA student
Rosendo Parra III and Gateway representative Steve Rodriguez.

Commencement Close-Up: Rosendo Parra III earns degree, laptop

By Tim Brownlee
Assistant Director of Public Affairs

(Dec. 14, 2006)--Rosendo Parra III is a fall 2006 graduation candidate in criminal justice and English -- and the latest winner of the UTSA Office of Information Technology Laptop Award -- the sixth in the Gateway computer award program.

The journey toward a degree had many obstacles. Parra is the first in his family to graduate high school and college, and higher education was an expense that his family couldn't afford. So, he worked full-time and also made many trips to El Paso to take care of his disabled mother.

"I have spent the past five years acquiring the tools needed to succeed in life," said Parra. "My next goal is to apply and be accepted to law school. Although, my time at UTSA is almost over, my only regret is that I was unable to join an organization or participate in school functions."

There were times he thought about quitting school and moving back home to El Paso to take care of his mother.

"But she wouldn't allow it, even though there were instances where she was close to passing away," Parra said. "Her determination to live inspired me to keep going, and now graduation is here. I am indebted to the people who did not lose faith in me, especially my mother. Without them, this dream of mine would not be possible."

His family supporters include his fiancee, Danielle Cordery; her mother, Kathy Anderson; and her grandfather, Bob Lee, all of whom attended the Dec. 5 ceremony where Parra was awarded a laptop.

The award was presented by John McGowan, UTSA CIO and associate vice provost for information technology; Steve Rodriguez, Gateway account manager of public sector sales and John Moder, CIO and vice president of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU).

Selected from ADP graduates who apply for the award, Parra received a commemorative certificate, Gateway laptop computer, software, an MP3 player and carrying case. HACU and Gateway sponsor the award each spring and fall semester.

When UTSA students, faculty and staff purchase Gateway laptop computers as part of the UTSA Student Laptop Initiative, a portion of sales are returned to UTSA. Money in the fund is used to award a laptop computer each semester to an ADP student.

"Rosendo participated in the ADP in the summer of 2001, and he has come a long way," said Cynthia Rodriguez, ADP associate director and a member of the laptop award selection committee. "He was able to support himself through college and deal with serious family issues, which was no easy feat. We commend Rosendo for his achievements."

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