Bilingual Program at UMass Amherst Will Hold Banquet

AMHERST, Mass. - Eighty-two University of Massachusetts seniors will be honored and several of them will receive awards at the 24th annual graduation and awards banquet of the Bilingual Collegiate Program (BCP) Fri. May 1 at 6 p.m. in the Student Union Ballroom.

Keynote speaker for the event will be Arthur Eve, director of the University’s Donahue Institute for Governmental Services. Eve was instrumental is establishing BCP, which is an academic support program that assists Latino and other minority students on campus by offering academic counseling, advice about financial aid, tutoring, and career counseling. About 450 students are currently enrolled in the program.

The evening’s program will also pay tribute to Ahora (which means "now" in Spanish), the oldest Latin American student organization on campus. The group is celebrating its 26th anniversary this year. In honor of the occasion, Carlos Gonzalez, special assistant to Springfield Mayor Michael Albano, will be guest speaker. Gonzalez was president of Ahora in 1982 while he was a student at UMass.

"Every year I look forward to attending the BCP graduation to rejoice and share with the graduating class, their parents, relatives, and friends, some of the proudest moments of their lives," says Gloria Ortiz, associate director for recruitment and training in the University’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity. Ortiz is an alumna of UMass and BCP.

UMass trustee Heriberto Flores, who also graduated from the University and participated in BCP, will also attend the banquet.

Besides the speeches and award ceremony, the event includes a Latin American dinner, and a dance featuring the Home Boys, a 12-piece merengue band from New York City.

For more information about the awards banquet, contact Jose Bou at 413/545-1987.