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University Crossroads honored with 2015 Miguel Hidalgo Award - Education

The University of Texas at Arlington’s University Crossroads program has been recognized with the 2015 Miguel Hidalgo Award by the Oak Cliff Coalition for the Arts for its educational outreach and widespread impact on the Hispanic community in Dallas.

Yolanda Tafoya, l, of Regional Hispanic Contractors Association, and Michele Bobadilla, r, University Crossroads, at the 2015 Miguel Hidalgo Awards presentation in Dallas.

In announcing the annual honor, the organization cited accomplishments that UTA has achieved over the past few years in providing access to Latinos in pursuit of higher education.

Among other milestones, University Crossroads through significant partnerships has provided access to college readiness programs, career exploration, SAT math preparation classes, college admissions and financial aid workshops, one-on-one advising, resume development, parent engagement programs and more.

“UT Arlington is quickly becoming the model urban research university for the 21st century,” said state Rep. Roberto Alonzo, D-Dallas, whose wife, Sylvana Avila Alonzo, founded the OCCA to advocate for arts and educational opportunities for Latinos.

“We are tremendously pleased to acknowledge University Crossroads and UTA faculty and staff who work daily to engage families and improve educational opportunities for Latinos in Dallas,” Rep. Alonzo said. “My wife Sylvana and I look forward to cultivating our relationship with UTA and to seeing the University make an even broader impact on the Greater Dallas metro area and beyond.”

Since its inception, University Crossroads has provided hundreds of SAT prep courses, financial aid seminars, summer camp opportunities, cultural events and field trips, and other programming to first- and second-generation students from low-to-moderate income households in Dallas.

Michele Bobadilla, UT Arlington’s senior associate vice president for outreach services and community engagement and assistant vice provost for Hispanic student success, said the organization’s mission is critical to Texas given the state’s increasing demographic shift and ethnic under-representation in higher education.

“We are honored to be recognized by the Oak Cliff Coalition for the Arts, Sylvana, and state Rep. Alonzo,” Bobadilla said. “We could not do what we do were it not for partnerships with organizations such as the OCCA and relationships with leaders whose lasting dedication to serving the community is held with such high esteem.”

Robert A. Estrada, a UT Arlington supporter, co-founder and chairman of Dallas-based Estrada Hinojosa & Co., applauded the award. He called it a true reflection of UTA’s commitment to education and diversity.

“I’m not only referring to diversity as it relates to ethnicity, but diversity of experiences as well,” Estrada said. “Whether partnering with community service organizations or voter registration drives; offering financial literacy workshops to hundreds of participants; or inspiring minds through events like the Maverick Speakers Series – these are opportunities that cultivate learning, enrich lives, and foster greater understanding of what is possible through an education. And, University Crossroads is leading the way on all fronts.”

The 2015 Miguel Hidalgo Award was presented during a Sept. 12 ceremony held at the Latino Cultural Center as part of the Fiestas Patrias Celebration, which marks the start of Hispanic Heritage Month.

The Fiestas Patrias are often associated with Mexican independence and typically end with the re-enactment of the Grito, the call to arms against Spain made on Sept. 15, 1810 by Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, the priest known as the “father of Mexican independence.”

About University Crossroads

University Crossroads is a UTA-led collaboration among colleges and universities, chambers of commerce, professional associations, nonprofit organizations, scholarship programs, corporations, businesses, and the Dallas Independent School District. It aims to expand access to and success in higher education for first- and second-generation students from low-to-moderate income households. University Crossroads is also one of 40 state-recognized P-16 Councils, which focus on improving college and career readiness. Learn more at

About The University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution of more than 51,000 students in campus-based and online degree programs and is the second-largest institution in The University of Texas System. The Chronicle of Higher Education ranked UT Arlington as one of the 20 fastest-growing public research universities in the nation in 2014. U.S. News & World Report ranks UT Arlington fifth in the nation for undergraduate diversity. The University is a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is ranked as a “Best for Vets” college by Military Times magazine. Visit to learn more, and find UT Arlington rankings and recognition at