UT-Austin students from Mexico and Spain honored at State Capitol

(AUSTIN) — Students from Mexico and Spain attending The University of Texas at Austin were honored Thursday (April 20), at the Texas Senate. Approximately 60 students attended the fifth annual reception hosted by Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, and the Texas Exes of The University of Texas and sponsored by The Laredo National Bank-Grupo Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (LNB/BBVA Group).

“As a UT graduate I want to help Mexican and Spanish students network outside the classroom with Texas Exes and with university and public officials who care about their future,” said Senator Zaffirini, a 2003 UT Distinguished Alumna who received BS, M.A. and PhD degrees from UT-Austin. “I know firsthand the advantages these students will have as a result of their international and bicultural education.”

The Laredo National Bank has sponsored the annual Capitol reception since its inception in 2001. “The last five years we have demonstrated our leadership for and commitment to education in general and to higher education in particular,” said President and CEO Manuel Sánchez Rodríguez. “Education is a top priority and necessity in the business world.”

Organized to facilitate networking, the reception is an opportunity for the Mexican and Spanish students to meet not only the highest officials from UT-Austin and the UT System, but also elected officials and Texas Exes from throughout the state.

Prior to the reception, Senator Zaffirini presented to David Argente, president of the UT Mexican Students Association; Darrel Windham, president-elect of the Texas Exes; and Nóah García, senior vice president in San Antonio, Laredo National Bank-BBVA Group, Senate Resolution 6 on the Senate floor. The resolution recognizes the outstanding support of LNB/BBVA and the contributions of the Texas Exes to their alma mater and welcomes the Mexican and Spanish students at UT.

“With a growing constituency of international UT alumni and an ever-expanding global economy, the importance of strong international relations for our students and the greater UT community has never been more important,” said UT President Bill Powers, who also attended the reception.

The legislature established a tuition assistance program in 1991 to help students with limited financial resources study in Texas. This year there are 42 students from Spain and 286 students from Mexico attending UT-Austin.

“The globalization of our economies and the growing importance of international trade between Texas, Mexico and Spain will strengthen our sister countries, and international students are central to that partnership,” said Senator Zaffirini, who is the senior senator for the border region. “As future leaders they are building the bridge that future generations will cross.”

Speakers welcoming the students to the Texas Senate and The University of Texas family included Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst; Senator Zaffirini; UT Chancellor Mark Yudof; Dr. Bill Powers, president, UT-Austin; García and Argente. The reception was held at the Lt. Governor’s reception room in the Texas Capitol.

The international students also visited the Texas Senate and toured the Capitol.