In the 1960s, Manuel Ramos was a Colorado State University student known for his activist views and passion for equality. Thirty years later, Ramos has continued his crusade in a different venue.
Ramos, deputy director and director of litigation for the Legal Aid Society of Metropolitan Denver, will share his memories of the past and how it has affected his life at Colorado State’s El Centro 15th Annual Achievement Awards at 7 p.m. April 3 in the Lory Student Center Main Ballroom.
The event, with a theme of "Remembering When: Past, Present and Future," will honor the contributions of Ramos as well as celebrate the academic, personal and cultural achievements of past and present students. While Ramos will provide comments reflecting on the past, he will be joined by Colorado State senior Lisa Carrillo and a local Poudre School District student to share their views about the present and the future.
"When we planned this year’s event, we wanted to focus on the profound impact our past has on who we are today and the opportunities we have for the future," said Guadalupe Salazar, director of El Centro Student Services. "If we do not reflect on and honor our Chicano and Latino leaders like Manuel Ramos, we cannot truly move forward and identify our future leaders."
In addition to his position with the Legal Aid Society, Ramos writes mystery novels and teaches Chicano literature at Metropolitan State College of Denver. His Luis Montez mystery novels have been called a "powerful, distinctive series" by Publishers Weekly. The Washington Post said, "Montez’s voice is solid and intriguing. . . This is good storytelling."
The student speaker, Lisa Carrillo, is a native of San Antonio, Texas and a psychology major at Colorado State. During her time at Colorado State, she has worked as student coordinator for El Centro’s Triumpho program, which provides role modeling and mentoring for local youth. Carrillo, a member of the Psichi National Honor Society in Psychology, hopes to continue her studies in psychology, recognizing that education provides the key to her and her family’s future.
The Annual Achievement Awards on April 3 will begin with a reception, music and a silent auction at 6 p.m. The band, Mariachi Vasquez, will perform during dinner, followed by the awards program. A dance also is scheduled at 9 p.m. in the Lory Student Center West Ballroom.
Music for the dance will be provided by Mood Express, the only Colorado band invited to the Annual Tejano Band Festival in San Antonio. This Denver-based group has spent the past 18 years performing for select gatherings across the United States, including concert openings for Gloria Estefan, Tito Puente, Little Joe, Jose Jose, Tierra, Ritmo Siete, Freddy Fender, Ruben Ramos and other regional artists.
El Centro Achievement Awards are given to celebrate the accomplishments of Hispanic community members, graduating seniors and recipients of the Elizabeth Woodworth Memorial Scholarship. Twelve college scholarships, worth $1,200 each, are given to students in honor of the late Elizabeth "Betty" Woodworth, a longtime editor of the Fort Collins Coloradoan newspaper and civic leader. Several other awards will be announced throughout the program, including recognition for community members, Colorado State faculty members and students.
"It is imperative that we have these scholarships to help students cope with financial struggles that may occur during their college years," Salazar said. "We recognize that a financial need exists and we will continue to raise monies to help our students succeed and graduate from Colorado State."
El Centro Student Services has been in existence at Colorado State for more than 20 years to help the needs of students and to promote education about the history and culture of Chicanos, Hispanics and Latinos throughout the university and the Fort Collins community.
Tickets for the ceremony, dinner and dance are valued at $25; however, El Centro is inviting individuals to purchase tickets for $50 to raise funds for scholarships. The $25 donation can qualify as a tax-deductible contribution. Corporate tables of 10 cost $500. Tickets can be purchased separately for the dance at $3 for students and senior citizens, $6 for adults and $10 per couple. Tickets may be purchased at the door.
For more information on the El Centro Achievement Awards Ceremony or to reserve seating, call Dorothy Ramirez in El Centro at (970) 491-5722.