Luz Rodriguez grew up in Chihuahua, Mexico, where there were no textbooks, pencils, paper, or other supplies available in the schoolroom. Yet, throughout her life Rodriguez understood the value of education and inspired "Bertha Miranda's Nostalgic Cultural Night." Rodriguez instilled that value in her daughter, Bertha Miranda, aka the first lady of Reno's Mexican food.
The Miranda family organized and hosted the 10th annual event for 300 guests, Oct. 19, at the Harrah's National Automobile Museum, to benefit academic scholarships for Latino students at the University and Truckee Meadows Community College.
Miranda personally planned the menu and oversaw every aspect of the cooking at the event that featured traditional and contemporary entertainment including music by Mariachi Plata, folkloric dancing and a skit titled "Mujeres Revolucionarias" by Brown Eyes Too, Nevada's only bilingual theater troupe, celebrating the role of women in the country's struggle for independence.
Over the last decade, Miranda's scholarships have supported 42 University students including Ireri Rivas, a senior majoring in English literature.
"I am really honored and proud to receive a scholarship from a Latina who supports educational goals for other Latina and Latino students," Rivas said.
University Hispanic and Latino student enrollment is increasing. In 2007, the entering freshman class was nine percent Hispanic and Latino.
"When I look at our University, not enough Latino students come to our campus," University President Milt Glick said. "If our state is to prosper, it will be because we educate all the students in the state including Latino, Hispanic, and African-American."
Glick observed students in the room who would not have been have been in college without Miranda's scholarships.
"Bertha Miranda said, 'I am going to find the money to help students become educated in the liberal arts,' and she has made that possible," Glick said.
"Education is a cornerstone for success and it is important to encourage student achievement and help them to realize their professional and personal dreams," Miranda said. "By assisting them to use their talents and determination, we in the community enjoy watching our youth convert their dreams into reality."