Mauricio Ibarra Ponce de León, Consul of Mexico in Albuquerque, UNM President Robert G. Frank, and Santa Fe Community College officials took part in a check presentation recently on the UNM campus.

UNM Vice President for Student Affairs Eliseo "Cheo" Torres, said, "In this third year, we celebrate the contributions of IME under the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Not only has Consul Ibarra been a strong supporter of this program, but he has also, through his office, provided funding to Plazas Comunitarias, for access to education online for Mexican adults, and resources to the UNM Cancer Center."

During the ceremony, UNM and Santa Fe Community College received checks from money raised for the Instituto de los Mexicanos en el Exterior (IME) Becas Scholarship program. IME is a Mexican federal office within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs offering resources to Mexicans living abroad.

This is the third year that these awards have been presented and the money has already helped many deserving students attain their educational goals. This is the first year that Santa Fe Community College received the scholarship funds; they received $10,00. UNM is received $50,000, which is augmented by matching funds.

"We are grateful to the Mexican government, especially the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Consul of Mexico in Albuquerque for supporting our students.” Frank said. “Consul Ibarra is tireless in his efforts to support University students. We greatly appreciate all he has done for UNM." Frank added that Consul Ibarra has aided the University's efforts in Mexico.

UNM Provost Chaouki Abdallah said that with the program now in its third year, many students have been helped with the scholarship money and its match. "These resources help provide our students with access and an opportunity for success."

Henry Nemcik, president and CEO of the UNM Foundation said, "Foundations are established to accept gifts. I have received thousands, but never received a gift that has this kind of impact. The biggest reason why people give to the University is to help students."

UNM student Rafael Martinez said, "Receiving the IME scholarship has allowed me to focus on my research interests. I have been able to connect with the Mexican community here and I appreciate seeing that people are interested in helping students. I wish to help future students in the same way."

“Our institution is thankful to the Mexican Consulate for opening the doors of opportunity for students in Northern New Mexico. These funds will make a significant difference in making dreams for a better future come true,” Ana M. “Cha” Guzmán, President, Santa Fe Community College said. 

Carmen Gonzales, SFCC vice president for Student Success, said that the funding will support programs in Adult Basic Education, Integrating Basic Education and Skills Training (I-BEST) and their student leadership efforts. "There are few opportunities for undocumented students. I would like to thank Consul Ibarra for contributing positively to the community."

IME-Becas Scholarship program grant awards are made to exceptional UNM students of Mexican origin to undertake research and complete their goals in education. UNM has earned an outstanding reputation, nationally and abroad, based on the breadth and expertise of Mexican, Latino and Latin American specialists in a wide variety of disciplinary fields and programs.

“We are delighted to carry forward the IME Becas scholarship program in New Mexico”, Consul Ibarra said. “We are pleased to extend the program to Santa Fe, with the $10,000 provided to SFCC."

The IME Scholarship program was created in 2005 to help raise the educational attainment levels of Mexican and Mexican-born scholars in the United States. Since then, the Government of Mexico presented 10 million pesos (about $750,000) to colleges and universities and nonprofit social organizations that provide education, training and support for Mexican immigrants to start, continue, or complete their education.

The target population of the program has diversified to offer college scholarships to young Mexicans and Mexican-origin students.  Those who are chosen are deemed academically outstanding and desirous of completing their studies in U.S. community colleges and universities.

The IME website notes that “contributing to open educational opportunities to the migrant community is crucial not only for enthusiasts seeking students to complete their studies, but to all of our companies that will benefit from this valuable human capital.”