HOSTOS Alumni Relations Office’s Circle of 100 Reaches a Milestone: “Tree of Life” Unveiled

On the evening of December 2, 2010, donors, recipients and friends of the Hostos Alumni Relations Office’s Circle of 100 gathered in the Atrium of Hostos Community College’s A-building for the unveiling of The Circle of 100 Tree of Life. Created by Juan Fernando Morales, this work of art depicts a ceiba tree with fruit that bears the names of donors whose contributions give life to the existence of the Circle of 100.  This tree symbolizes vitality, a pillar of strength, and the lasting growth that our donors pass on to our younger generation.

The Circle of 100 is a membership group that supports the educational goals and aspirations of Hostos students by providing emergency grants to candidates for graduation who are facing financial hardships. Since its inception in 2006, the Circle of 100 has awarded 93 emergency grants of up to $500 to needy students.  In addition, the Circle has awarded 33 scholarships of $1000 each to facilitate students’ transition to four-year colleges.

The Hostos Circle of 100 is co-chaired by Professor Emeritus Gerald J. Meyer and Dean Emeritus Virginia Paris.  Other members of the Executive Committee are Nydia R. Edgecombe, Director of Alumni Relations, Professor Elyse Zucker of the English Department, and Ms. Saudy Tejada, an Hostos alumna (Class of 2004).

“Education is the path to freedom and the foundation for endless opportunities,” said Professor Meyer. “Unfortunately, many Hostos students have their education interrupted or delayed by financial hardships or unforeseen circumstances.  The Circle of 100 was created to ensure that educational opportunities are within reach for as many of our students as possible.”

President Felix V. Matos Rodriguez and Provost Carmen Coballes-Vega joined the many faculty, administrators, staff and alumni that have donated generously to The Circle of 100. President Matos Rodriguez chose to have the names of his sons Lucas and Juan Carlos represented on the Tree of Life.  “When I bring my children to campus, I want them to see their names on the Tree of Life so that they will learn the importance of giving.  I want them to know from an early age what an educational community can accomplish when its members believe in the potential of all students and are generous to those who need financial help to achieve their academic goals.” 

Dean Paris announced that The Circle of 100 has reached its initial goal of raising $100,000 in pledges and contributions to benefit current Hostos students.  By the end of the evening more than $13,000 in additional pledges and contributions had been made, including a pledge of $10,000 from alumnus Carlos Velasquez (Class of 1976) on behalf of the Diversity Foundation and GALOS Corporation, and one for $1000 from Dr. Dolores M. Fernandez, a former president of Hostos. 

Nydia R. Edgecombe stated: “The venue was beautiful, the performance from the students, flawless, and the support from our donors and student recipients who attended the event, magical.  This is truly one of the most beautiful and memorable events I have seen in my 34 years of working at Hostos.”

The following three Hostos students received Circle of 100 awards during the unveiling ceremony:

Rocio Rayo, Class of 2011 — Ms. Rayo is a global scholar with a GPA of 3.90.   A member of Phi Theta Kappa, she has been on the Dean’s List and participated in the 2010 Summer Honor Institute; Ms. Rayo has also worked as a volunteer with the Hostos Repertory Theater, Mosaic Preparatory Academy at PS 375, and The Homeless Project. 

Angel Huertas, Class of 2012 –– Mr. Angel Huertas is a Radiologic Technology student who volunteers with Professor Lizette Colón at the Counseling Food Pantry.

Astrid García, Class of 2011 –– Ms. Astrid García is pursuing an associate degree in liberal arts and will graduate in June 2011.  She is a volunteer at a medical office in her community.

Several Hostos students performed at the unveiling of the Tree of Life. David and German Santos, known as La Banda Twins, sang a duet version of Imagine in upbeat harmony.  Randell Charles performed a rap version of “Imagine” while the original theme played in the background.  Natalie Vásquez, a contestant and finalist on the “Objetivo Fama” show, gave an emotional rendition of “Por Amor.”

Donors of $1,000 and more…

Mr. Bill Aguado, Mrs. Dolores Batista, Mr. Arnaldo  Bernabe, Class of 1999, Mr. Terrence A. Brown, Ms. Elba Cabrera, Dr. Carmen Coballes-Vega, Dr. Robert Cohen, Ms. Amillie Coster, Dr. SueDicker, Mr. Wallace  Edgecombe, Mrs. Nydia R. Edgecombe, Ms. Karen Ellis, Mr. and Mrs. Mike Emma, Dr. Dolores M. Fernández, Ms. Glenda Grace, Esq., Professor Elena Hurvich, Mr. Clifford M. Hurvich, Professor Cynthia  Jones, Ms. Maida Lar Ruiz, Class of 2000, Professor Miriam Laskin, Mr. Elvis Lockward, Class of 1980, Mr. Luis Lucero-MBJ, Ms. Dolly Martínez, Dr. Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, Dr. Daniel Maysonet, Mr. Peter Mertens, Dr. Gerald J. Meyer, Mr. and Mrs. Joe  Meyer, Ms. Anna  Millet Meyer, Ms.  Margarita Minino, Class of 1979, Mr. Leroy Morgan, Class of  1976, Professor Patricia Oldham, Mrs. Virginia Paris, Mr. Franklyn Pérez, Esq., Mr. Ramón M. Rodríguez, Esq., Mr. Luis Romero, Mr. Steven San Inocencio, Dr. Carlos Sanabria, Dr. Kim Sanabria Mr. Eduardo Sánchez, Class of 2000, Ms. Carmen Sosa, Class of 1995, Ms. Lisanka Soto, Class of 1988, Ms. Saudy Tejada, Class of 2004, Professor America  Trinidad, Professor Magda J. Vasillov, Mrs. Carmen Vázquez-Ferrer, Mr. Carlos Velásquez, Class of 1976, Dr. Lucinda Zoe and Dr. Elyse Zucker. 100 Hispanic Women, Affinity Health Plan, Diversity Foundation, GALOS Corporation, GEICO, Professional Staff Congress, The Dental Hygiene Students for Prof. Anita Cunnigham and Dr. Geraldine Perri, Class of 1979 and The Intensive ESL Students for Prof. Lewis Levine.

About Hostos Community College

Eugenio Maria de Hostos Community College, part of The City University of New York system, was founded in 1968.  Located in the South Bronx, the college currently serves more than 6,000 students.  In addition to associate degree programs that facilitate easy transfer to CUNY’s four-year colleges or baccalaureate studies at other institutions, Hostos also has an award-winning Continuing Education and Professional Studies Department that offers courses for professional development and certificate-bearing workforce training programs.

In four decades, Hostos has grown from a class of 623 in the fall of 1970 to the spring 2010 enrollment of over 6,000 students.  The college also serves an additional 10,000 students through its Continuing Education and Professional Studies Department.

For more information about Hostos Community College visit