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Oklahoma City University Named Educational Partner of the Year by Latino Community Development Agency
Oklahoma City University was named the Latino Community Development Agency’s Educational Partner of the Year for its work within the Hispanic community. OCU was recognized Oct. 24 at the agency’s annual awards luncheon at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. LCDA President and CEO Pat Fennell said OCU has been an important partner in bolstering leadership and educational opportunities among Hispanic youth. “Through our work with Oklahoma City University, we are able to leverage a wonderful investment in education,” Fennell said. “The biggest investment we can make in our community is increasing the educational level of our community.” Fennell said youth involved with the agency attend the Latino Youth Conference at OCU annually and that many go on to receive financial aid from the university like the full-tuition Clara Luper Scholarship at OCU. Maria Perez, an OCU Clara Luper Scholar, said she learned about the scholarship while taking part in several programs at the Latino Community Development Agency. “OCU and LCDA both really encouraged Latinos in higher education,” she said. “They gave a lot of options.” Perez, a business marketing and criminal justice sophomore, plans to become a lawyer or pursue a career in international business. Perez said OCU has been a perfect fit for her studies, much like LCDA’s youth leadership training was perfect for preparing her for college and beyond. OCU annually sends students like Perez to the National Council of La Raza conference to advocate civil rights, education and employment for Hispanic Americans. Clint Normore, director of the Clara Luper Scholarship Program and multicultural student affairs at OCU, has worked alongside LCDA in reaching out to Latino youth in the community who want to pursue a quality college education since the inception of the Clara Luper program in 2003. “Our work together has provided a model of what higher education and civic organizations can do in identifying and attracting talented students and providing access for their academic success,” Normore said. Rick Hall, OCU’s vice president for student affairs, said OCU enjoys working with the LCDA in many areas. OCU students have assisted with tutoring programs and the agency and OCU employees have donated toys for the agency’s annual Christmas party. “OCU has been a wonderful partner to help us in our mission of educating kids,” Fennell said. “We are very appreciative of all OCU does for our community.”