On November 14, the Eugenio María de Hostos Community College Foundation saluted Hostos alumni employees at the Second Annual Alma Matters Awards.

A play on the phrase “Alma Mater,” the annual event was initially launched during the College’s 50th anniversary year and is dedicated to celebrating Hostos alumni’s many accomplishments and raising support for student scholarships. This year’s Alma Matters specifically recognized the dedication and contributions exhibited by alumni who have returned to the College as employees—of which there were many from which to choose. Approximately 147 alumni currently work at Hostos, each contributing to the institution in various ways and capacities.  

Alumni employees were selected to receive one of four awards—the Visionary Award, Community Impact Award, Trailblazer Award, or Honorable Recognition. However, honorees were not informed of their selection prior to the ceremony, making for an especially emotional affair.

The 2019 Visionary Award went to Lisanette Rosario, director of Career Services, who accepted her award on behalf of everyone who has supported her and who has helped push “initiatives to help our next generation of alumni succeed.” She also noted many of her team members graduated from Hostos and encouraged them to continue pursuing their dreams and helping one another. “It is my hope to continue to see more of our alumni supporting our goals and our mission here at Hostos,” she said. 

Two alumni tied for the Community Impact Award. Rufina Amadiz, CUNY Office Assistant in the Education department, was described by a nominator as “a positive individual who really makes a difference in the workplace and in her community.” Another colleague said they consider themselves lucky to work with Amadiz, who is “one of a kind” and “always over-extending herself to students and staff, even if it is out of the scope of her responsibilities.”

Chief Arnaldo Bernabe also received the Community Impact Award. “He represents what Hostos is about—social mobility and intergenerational impact,” shared one of his nominators. Moved by the recognition, Chief Bernabe thanked the College as a whole, as well as his department, noting the great impact Hostos has had on not just him, but on his family as well.

Ronette Shaw, assistant professor in the Allied Health Nursing program, and Terrence Brown, enrollment registrar manager, tied for the Trailblazer Award. Shaw was lauded as a “great mentor” and “forward thinker,” and one of her nominators said “she has made the LPN program a success.” During her emotional acceptance speech, she expressed her gratitude for the recognition, thanking her department coordinator and chair, as well as to everyone at Hostos for “dedicating their time and their efforts for the good of the students.” Shaw said she sees herself in her students, and they are who motivate her.

Brown was recognized for his ongoing dedication to the College. “He answers every question, puts out all the fires, and serves on the Senate Executive Committee,” shared a nominator, and another praised him for always speaking up wherever there is a need and for working hard to give back to his community.

Last but certainly not least, the Honorable Recognition went Diosa Carmona, who recently retired from her role as a CUNY Office Assistant in the English department and received the most total votes across all categories. According to one of her colleagues, Carmona was an essential member of the team and would consistently go beyond the call of duty, “showing her honor and respect for the education she received here by valuing her position and excelling in her duties.” An emotional Carmona received a standing ovation from members of the English department, who also presented her with a bouquet of flowers.

Felix Sánchez, Alumni Relations Manager and Hostos alumnus, closed the ceremony with news of forthcoming alumni events, including the Alumni Mixer taking place March 19, 2020, and the Office of Alumni Relations’ second-ever Laugh-a-ThON comedy fundraiser in the spring. He also shared the Alma Matters Awards will salute external alumni in 2020 and alumni employees will be honored every other year from here on out.

The 2019 event raised close to $4,000 in support of the Circle of 100 Scholarship and Emergency fund and the General Academic Excellence fund. The former assists students with expenses that often prohibit them from continuing their studies, such as MetroCards, course materials, and examination and certification fees, to name a few. The latter provides accomplished students with monetary awards during Hostos’ Annual Honors Convocation in recognition of their merit. 

The Second Annual Alma Matters Awards was organized by the Division of Institutional Advancement and the Office of Alumni Relations, and supported by this year’s ambassador sponsor and Hostos alumnus, Dejuan Wynn, of Wynn Optics. On behalf of the Hostos Community College Foundation, thank you to Mr. Wynn, the Hostos Community College Foundation Board of Directors, and to the members of the 2019 Alma Matters Committee for making this year’s event possible.

Please enjoy these photos from the Second Annual Alma Matters Awards.