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John Garza
UTSA graduate student John Garza at Sombrilla Plaza on the
1604 Campus (Photo by Mark McClendon)

John Garza receives Beldon doctoral scholarship

By Marianne McBride Lewis
Director of Public Affairs

(June 22, 2007)--When Michael Beldon was a student at Rice University in the 1950s, he received financial support for his studies. Without that help, he says, he never could have gone to college.

Now chairman and CEO of Beldon Enterprises, a third-generation, family-owned commercial roofing business, Beldon will extend the same opportunity this fall to a UTSA student with the newly created Louise and Michael Beldon Doctoral Scholarship.

The merit-based scholarship provides $5,000 to a Texas resident entering a UTSA doctoral program. The inaugural recipient just announced by the UTSA Graduate School is John Garza, a doctoral student in applied demography in the College of Public Policy.

A San Antonio native and 1998 graduate of Central Catholic High School, Garza is UTSA through-and-through. He earned his undergraduate degree at UTSA in mathematics in May 2005 and a master's in statistics in May 2007 with a 3.45 G.P.A.

Garza looks forward to studying in the applied demography doctoral program because he wants to work in data-driven research and analysis that has the potential to have a big impact on society and people's lives.

His primary area of interest is illegal immigration from Mexico and, secondarily, the increase of the Hispanic population in Texas and the United States. Garza will study the socioeconomic impact of this demographic group and its effect on public and private policy.

"With a doctorate in applied demography, I will have the necessary qualifications to conduct this research, either in government or the private sector," said Garza. "The goal is the same -- to shed light on the nature of these demographic factors and provide accurate analysis so that government and industry can take appropriate actions in dealing with issues and needs that arise in the areas of international migration."

Mary Zey, College of Public Policy professor and graduate program chair of demography and organizational studies, nominated Garza for the Beldon scholarship.

"John is one of the strongest students we have coming into the Ph.D. program, and the combination of his excellent G.P.A. and that he is a serious student made him an outstanding nominee for the Beldon scholarship," said Zey.

Dorothy Flannagan, UTSA Graduate School dean, was thrilled when she learned of the Beldons' decision to invest in a UTSA graduate student.

"UTSA's excellent doctoral programs attract some of the finest students from the state, nation and the world," said Flannagan. "Mr. and Mrs. Beldon's generous gift has allowed us to recognize one of these students, and to provide him with financial assistance while he pursues his degree."

Michael Beldon and his wife of 44 years, Louise Beldon, a UT Austin graduate, are longtime San Antonio residents, serving on many boards and volunteering for community causes. In March 2006, they were inducted as business partners into the San Antonio Business Hall of Fame in recognition of their entrepreneurship, leadership and community support.

Read more about UTSA graduate student scholarships at the UTSA Graduate School Web site or contact Lisa Palacios, UTSA director of graduate school recruitment and retention, at (210) 458-6406.

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