Gala Crowd
Credit: Jon Lechel

For the seventh straight year, The University of New Mexico-Valencia Campus’ largest fundraiser brought out the stars, glamour and donor wallets.

UNM-Valencia’s 7th Annual Road to Success Gala, “Night of the Stars,” was themed after movie award shows highlighting 35 years of film, and higher education in Valencia County.

This year marks 35 years of education at UNM-Valencia, and with the Gala’s fundraising efforts, it ensured many more years of helping students pay for their education with the amount of donations and auction item sales.

The Platinum Sponsor for the evening was María Alberta Flores, whose family donated $20,000 to UNM-Valencia’s Endowment Fund. Flores’ donation will be matched 1-to-1 with U.S. Department of Education grant funds to support the endowment. A scholarship was also created in the name of María Alberta Flores.

This year’s recipient of the scholarship, Keith Diegel, received $1,000 in funding as will another two students every year to help pay for college expenses.

“Thank you, ma’am, you’ve done worlds for me and mine. I’m in your debt, and I promise that, through my success, I will pay you back,” Diegel said the night of the Gala.

UNM-Valencia Campus student Keith Diegel thanks sponsors and donors during his acceptance speech of the María Alberta Flores Scholarship during the 7th Annual Road to Success Gala on Saturday, Feb. 27 in the Student Community Center.

The live auction items: a Harlan Lizer oil painting, Albuquerque Isotopes box seating and a 1900’s European bedframe — garnered $2,980 in winning bids. Those funds, along with the money raised from the silent auction, helped UNM-Valencia raise more than $47,000 at the Gala.

“Valencia County’s support at this year’s Gala was overwhelming. It has helped create everlasting scholarships for UNM-Valencia students,” said Kristina Martinez, UNM-Valencia Development and Donor Relations Manager.

A multitude of businesses and individuals contributed to the success of the Gala, including Gold Sponors BNSF Railway and Tomé Gallery; Silver Sponsors Ambercare and UNM-Valencia CEO, Dr. Alice Letteney; Bronze Sponsors Bank of Albuquerque, Belen Consolidated Schools, David C. Chavez, Jerry and Sonya C. Moya and Presbyterian Health Plan, Lone Mountain Contracting, Los Lunas Public Schools, N.M. Water Service Group, Noé and Diana Lara, Rio Grande Financial Network, School of Dreams Academy, Valencia Civitan Club, Village of Los Lunas and Walmart Distribution Center.

Along with the help of the UNM-Valencia Development Board and countless campus staff and faculty members, the 7th  Annual Road to Success Gala was extremely beneficial to the future success of students.

“Our community’s support is critical to the success of our students in so many ways.  This year’s fundraiser will increase our overall endowment to more than $1.35 million — an endowment that will generate student scholarships for years to come,” Letteney said.

For more information about donating to UNM-Valencia, call Martinez at 925.8550 or email krismart@unm.edu.