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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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U.S. senator speaks about education and diversity at Hispanic scholarship breakfast

U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar of Colorado discussed the importance of education and diversity at the sixth annual Danny Villanueva Scholarship Breakfast Thursday morning (Oct. 19) at New Mexico State University. Breakfast proceeds of $45,000 will go toward Hispanic scholarships at NMSU.

Danny Villanueva, left, thanks U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar for speaking at his annual scholarship breakfast at New Mexico State University. The event raised $45,000 in scholarship funds. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

Salazar described his early life as one of poverty where the importance of education was always emphasized. He said the values of education, hard work and community instilled by his parents were what helped him, and his seven siblings, graduate from high school and college.

"We as a human race have this great opportunity to create a better world for the generations to come, our children and our grandchildren," he said.

Salazar said diversity is key to America's success, rather than the intolerance of Latinos and the Spanish language that he encountered when he was younger.

"The strength of this nation will largely be determined by our acceptance of its growing diversity," he said.

He was invited by Villanueva to speak at the event that raises funds for Hispanic scholarships at NMSU. Villanueva, a former Aggie football star, former NFL football player and a Spanish-language television pioneer, matches proceeds from the breakfast each year for an endowed scholarship in his name. The 2006 recipients of the Danny Villanueva scholarship are Veronica Bunn, Erika Martinez and Noel Martinez.

Villanueva is also a part of the campaign to raise $150 million for the university by 2010.

"It's all about celebrating our past, our traditions, and looking to our legacy and what we're going to do for future generations to come," Villanueva said at the breakfast.

Laura Gutierrez Spencer, director of Chicano Programs and a coordinator of the event, said Villanueva's continued support is extremely important to the university.

"We're very proud and grateful that Mr. Villanueva continues to remember and contribute to NMSU," Spencer said.

For more information call Spencer at (505) 646-4206.