University of New Mexico President Robert G. Frank recently received a check for $70,000 from Mauricio Ibarra Ponce de León, Consul of Mexico in Albuquerque.

“For the fourth year, UNM celebrates the support and contributions of IME Becas under the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs. These funds, which are matched by private funds through the UNM Foundation, provide scholarships for exceptional UNM students of Mexican origin to undertake and complete their goals in education,” Frank said.

A private funder who has supported the program is Sergio Bermudez, owner of El Mezquite Market, who annually holds a golf tournament to raise money for the program, UNM Vice President for Student Affairs Eliseo “Cheo” Torres, said.

Frank thanked Ibarra for supporting UNM students. “Consul Ibarra is a great friend and partner to the University of New Mexico. We appreciate all he does for UNM and our students,” he said. Frank was gratified to learn that the amount UNM received was raised from $50,000 to $70,000. “These additional funds make it possible for more students to earn an education,” he said.

Two students, Barbara Gomez Aguinaga, a member of the UNM DREAM Team, and graduate student Elizabet Cuna gave testimonials to the value of the scholarship. Gomez said, “Receiving the scholarship meant that I had time to give back to my community.” Cuna added, “It was important for me to know that the Mexican government supports us even though we do not live in Mexico.”

 Consul Ibarra said, “The IME Becas [Instituto de los Mexicanos en el Exterior] Becas [scholarship] program is the result of the priority the Mexican government confers to its community abroad. Since its creation until last year, the Mexican government had allocated annually 10 million pesos, or around $750,000 to the IME Becas program.”

Ibarra said that Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto followed through with a commitment to increase resources going to IME Becas. “With the help of educational institutions, local governments and private businesses, the government of Mexico was able to quadruple the resources allocated to IME Becas. Therefore, around $4 million will be distributed between 180 educational institutions in the U.S., benefitting more than 12,000 students,” he said.

Other institutions with representatives on hand to receive checks were Central New Mexico College, Santa Fe Community College, Northern New Mexico College and San Juan Community College. 

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