KINGSTON, R.I. -- February 28, 2001 -- Igor Garcia of Providence, a senior in the University of Rhode Islands International Engineering Program who speaks fluent German, Spanish, and English, almost didnt make it back to school this year. "I was going to have to drop out," says the soon-to-be mechanical engineer. "I thought I would have to work a year to earn enough money to come back and finish my degree," he says.
Thanks to a point of light, actually the Ninth Point of Light, Garcias future got a lot brighter this academic year. Garcia became one of the first 22 recipients of the DiMaio Scholarship Fund. The recipients attended a recent luncheon hosted by President Robert L. Carothers.
The Ninth Point of Light asked for $75,000 to establish the DiMaio Scholarship Fund designed for in-state and out-of-state minority or disadvantaged students. The request was part of 10 Points of Light and two demands presented to URI President Robert L. Carothers in 1998 by the Brothers United for Action. A mediated agreement between the president and the Brothers was reached in May 1999 and witnessed by Josephine Carabello from the U.S. Department of Justice. The DiMaio scholarships were part of that agreement.
"The negotiations that took place hereprior to the agreementstand as a testament of what a small group of dedicated administrators, faculty, staff, and students can accomplish when guided by the noble principle of making our world a better place for all mankind to live, work, or study in," said the Justice Departments Carabello who more recently helped in the negotiations involving the release of Elian Gonzalez.
"The fact that, today, we find ourselves celebrating the fulfillment of Point 9 of that agreement, bears witness that the spirit of cooperation between students and the administration is alive and well at the University of Rhode Island," said Carabello during the luncheon.
"Since the signing of this agreement, we have seen some major strides in a positive direction," said Barry OConnor, spokesman for the BUA. "We would like to acknowledge President Carothers for stepping up to the plate
and continuing to do so.
"We thought it fitting to name the scholarship after Mr. Leo DiMaio, a man who is not only one of the founders of Special Programs for Talent Development, but also a friend and a brother," OConnor concluded, his voice cracking with emotion.
Leo DiMaio stood and said he missed the students since his retirement. Looking over the tables at the DiMaio scholars he said: "You are the soul of this nation. You are our future. Keep going by the way. I need my Social Security," DiMaio said to much laughter.
The DiMaio Scholars and their hometowns are as follows:
Providence: Ronald M. Antezan, Carmeris C. Cabrera, Shanka C. Doctor, Igor Garcia, Alexis Morel, Kim Pond, Amanda Regino, and Nell Rios.
Worcester, Mass: Erica Adjeman and Thelma Titus.
Pawtucket: Bernard Anonkye.
Brockton, Mass: Fabrice Bastien
Woonsocket: Angel E. Castro and Trang Nguyen
Central Falls: Dioscaris Garcia
Wakefield: Celica Has
North Providence: Pang Kha
Kingston: Clifford Manzanillo
Brooklyn, N.Y: Marlon Mussington
Cranston: Trysambo Pong, Rene Rico
Warwick: Ravid Te