Milestone Celebration Brings 16 Hispanic Students to Chicago for Mentoring Sessions, Networking Opportunities and Luncheon Honoring Class of 2012 RMHC/HACER College Graduates

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Oak Brook, Ill. (August 17, 2012) /PRNewswire/ — McDonald’s and Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) honored the first college graduating class of RMHC/HACER National Scholarship recipients with a three-day celebratory event in Chicago, sponsored by McDonald’s, that culminated with a graduation ceremony on Thursday, August 16, at the Chicago Cultural Center. The ceremony was led by Hispanic journalist and TV personality María Antonieta Collins. Dr. Juan Andrade, Jr., president of the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI) – one of only two Latinos in history to receive a Presidential Medal – delivered the keynote speech to the Hispanic graduates and an audience of RMHC/HACER National Scholarship recipients from class years 2008-2012, family members, community representatives, and McDonald’s and RMHC executives.

“The RMHC/HACER National Scholarship Program was established to financially assist Hispanic students with outstanding academic records and a true commitment to serving their community,” said Edgardo A. Navarro, vice president marketing – McDonald’s USA. “Today we commemorate your heritage, celebrate your achievements, and share the promise of a bright future for you and the communities you will serve through your new skills and dedication.”

Class of 2012 graduate Maira Mercado thanked the RMHC/HACER program for being an extended family to her. “The RMHC/HACER National Scholarship Program is more than a $100,000 scholarship that helped with my college tuition. It has provided me with a peer support system and continues to ease my nerves as I think of applying and interviewing for jobs. I’m really excited about the future, and I hope that by graduating from college, I can inspire other Hispanic students to continue to study hard and complete their studies.”

The three members of the 2012 RMHC/HACER National Scholarship college graduating class are:

In addition, 13 students who received an RMHC/HACER National Scholarship from 2008-2012 and are currently pursuing college degrees at universities across the country – including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Brown University, Yale University, Princeton University, Baylor University, and the Washington University in St. Louis – joined the graduating class in Chicago to participate in the celebratory activities. The three-day soiree included mentoring sessions providing them with tips and resources for resume writing, job hunting, interview tips, and networking skills; learning more about the impact RMHC family-centered programs have on children and their families and volunteering at a downtown Chicago Ronald McDonald House® where they were given a tour of the House before baking cookies with the current residents; and a scenic river cruise tour of downtown Chicago.

“We are extremely proud of the success of the first generation of RMHC/HACER National Scholarship graduates,” said Martin J. Coyne, president and CEO of RMHC. “Through this celebratory trip to Chicago, McDonald’s not only wanted to congratulate our first college graduating class for their tremendous accomplishment, but to also provide all of the scholarship recipients with networking opportunities and mentoring sessions to help them with their next stage in life – whether it be graduate school or beginning their careers.”

The RMHC/HACER National Scholarship Program has provided $1.9 million in scholarships for college-bound Hispanic students since 2008 and is an extension of the RMHC/HACER Scholarship Program founded in 1985 by McDonald’s Owner/Operator Richard Castro of El Paso, Texas, with the support of RMHC, McDonald’s Corporation, and local Hispanic McDonald’s owner/operators throughout the country. Castro, a former educator, established the program after noticing increasing school drop-out rates among Hispanic students due to financial difficulties. The RMHC/HACER Scholarship Program provides awards ranging from $1,000 to $100,000 per student and is one of the country’s largest college scholarship programs for graduating Hispanic high school students. Applications for the 2013 scholarship program will be available on October 1, 2012. For more information on the scholarships and other education resources, please visit www.MeEncanta.com and www.rmhc.org.

About RMHC
Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®), a non-profit, 501 © (3) corporation, creates, finds and supports programs that directly improve the health and well being of children. Through its global network of local Chapters in 57 countries and regions, its three core programs, the Ronald McDonald House®, Ronald McDonald Family Room® and Ronald McDonald Care Mobile®, and millions of dollars in grants to support children’s programs worldwide, RMHC provides stability and resources to families so they can get and keep their children healthy and happy. All RMHC-supported programs provide a bridge to quality health care and give children and families the time they need together to heal faster and cope better. For more information, visit www.rmhc.org, follow RMHC on Twitter (@RMHC), or like RMHC on Facebook (Facebook.com/RMHC Global).


Clara Carrier
Ronald McDonald House Charities
PR & Marketing Manager
(630) 623-6573

Alicia R. López
VPE Public Relations
(626) 403-3200 ext. 217

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©2012 McDonald’s

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McDonald’s and Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) honored the first college graduating class of RMHC/HACER National Scholarship recipients.
McDonald’s and Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) honored the first college graduating class of RMHC/HACER National Scholarship recipients.

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