(Bronx, NY) – On Wednesday, June 13, 2012, Dr. Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, President of Eugenio María de Hostos Community College of The City University of New York (CUNY), received the “Education Award” at ASPIRA’s “Circle of Achievers Dinner,” which was held at E-Space in Manhattan.

The theme of the dinner was “Building on 50 Years of Investing in Latino Youth,” and President Matos Rodríguez was recognized for his work as an educator for CUNY and as President of Hostos, a position he has held since 2009.

This event also celebrated the legacy of the late Dr. Antonia Pantoja, who founded ASPIRA in New York City over half a century ago. Dr. Pantoja was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996 for her work.

President Matos Rodríguez praised ASPIRA’S work and Dr. Pantoja for sharing the “Chain Reaction” vision with Hostos, as both entities have worked tirelessly to improve Latino communities here and abroad.

“It is an honor to receive this award from ASPIRA, an organization founded by one of Puerto Rico’s most exemplary leaders,” said President Matos Rodríguez. “ASPIRA and Hostos share the ideal that enriching our upcoming generation is of the utmost importance. For ASPIRA to recognize me as a leader and an educator only reaffirms the great responsibility I have. I accept this recognition on behalf of Hostos Community College and all the administrators, faculty and staff that make Hostos not only a great educational institution but also a family.”

ASPIRA is the leading national Hispanic organization dedicated exclusively to developing the educational and leadership capacity of Hispanic youth.

For over 50 years, this non-profit, grassroots organization has provided programs that encourage Hispanic students to stay in school, prepare them to succeed in the educational arena, develop their leadership skills, and enable them to serve their community.

At the dinner, Lillian Rodríguez, the new Director of Latin Affairs for the Coca-Cola Company, was honored with the Community Leadership Award. Tom Llamas of WNBC-TV was the Master of Ceremonies, and Verizon CFO Fran Shammo also presented.

ASPIRA is organized in eight states and Puerto Rico and has extensive national presence through its partnerships with hundreds of regional, state and local education CBOs. It currently serves over 85,000 students each year through its ASPIRA Clubs in schools and its after-school education and guidance programs.

Former ASPIRA club members, or “ASPIRANTES,” include Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, actor Jimmy Smits, and others.

About Hostos Community College
Eugenio María de Hostos Community College, part of The City University of New York (CUNY) system, was founded in 1968.  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 Division of Continuing Education and Professional Studies 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 2012 enrollment of over 7,000 students.  The college also serves an additional 10,000 students through its Division of Continuing Education and Professional Studies. For more news and stories about Hostos Community College, visit