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February 26, 2008
By Zanny Marsh
The Education Collaborative of Washoe County honored University donor Bertha Miranda for her generous and ongoing support for education at its annual EC Awards program, Feb. 27, at the Silver Legacy Resort and Casino in Reno. Miranda received the Community Leader in a Leading Role award, recognizing extraordinary support provided by community business leaders.
“Education is a cornerstone for success and it is important to encourage student achievement and help them to achieve professional and personal success,” said Miranda, who received the University’s President’s Medal in 1997 for her support of higher education.
Since 1995, Miranda has hosted “Bertha Miranda’s Nostalgic Cultural Night,” a fund-raising dinner to raise scholarships for Hispanic and Latino students at the University’s College of Liberal Arts and Truckee Meadows Community College. She contributes 100 percent of the proceeds to student scholarships.
Miranda’s mother, Luz Rodriguez, inspired the cultural event. Rodriguez grew up in Chihuahua, Mexico, where her schoolroom had no textbooks, pencils, paper or other supplies.
“My mother’s childhood experience impressed upon her a lifelong dedication to education,” Miranda said. “Through this event, I share with others those things which mean most to me — my family recipes and my belief in academic success,” she said.
Miranda’s philanthropy has helped 42 University students realize their dream of completing a college education.
The University attracted its most diverse student body in history this academic year. Fall 2007 semester enrollment data show 17.5 percent of the total 16,681 students identify themselves as students of color.
“When I look at our University, not enough Latino students come to our campus and we can do better,” 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.”
“We perform outreach in nontraditional venues including community centers and local churches, which increases opportunities for families of color to participate in decisions to prioritize a college education,” said Steve Maples, the campus’ admissions director.
The Education Collaborative is a not-for-profit resource that seeks volunteer, material and financial support for public schools in the Washoe County School District. Its programs include Partners in Education, School-to-Careers, the From Crayons to Computer Warehouse, as well as advocacy and information referral.