Erick Oribio’s Speech, Service to Society Award from College Success Scholars Program

Good  Evening. I would like to thank the Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Education of the University of Maryland, and specially the College Success Scholars Program, its Director Dr. Christopher Lester, its Staff, and everyone who makes possible this program of great benefit to the society.

It is a real honor and a privilege to be receiving this award, for me, personally, the most relevant recognition I have ever received, because of its social meaning. Thanks to  my friends who are present and to all of you for being here today.

I was born in Caracas, Venezuela; the same city that saw grow up Simon Bolivar, the Liberator, who played the leading role in the establishment of Venezuela, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Panama as sovereign states, independent of the Spanish rule in the early eighteen hundreds). It was Simon Bolivar who said the following: “ the greatest richness of a nation lies in its education”, and taking this as reference, here, at the University of Maryland we have an immensely rich place, a precious gemstone mine, where you, the students, are the raw diamonds to be cut and polished, which is not an easy process, but thanks to the CSS program, the process is less tortuous, since we all know in some cases we, Afro-Americans and Latinos, as minorities, are in disadvantage,  a disadvantage we must overcome through education and a conscious effort to surpass all barriers. On this respect and without a doubt , the support of parents  is essential, since family is the fundamental cell of society, a society that we all need to build through joint work, and passion, with passion as the critical element to succeed across all areas of our professional activity.

My passion for contributing to society is present in everyhthing I do, and far from complaining about inequalities I enthusiastically work where social commitment must be applied  A just society cannot exist with social inequalities, so we are compelled to work on short, mid and long term initiatives to eliminate their impact. The process is slow, but the price of substantial changes and goals met is eventually reached; and along the way, always dream big with the conviction that those dreams will come to reality. In 1996, I visited this university for the first time, I was impressed by its magnificence; later, in 2003, I moved to College Park to come to work as Latino  Prince George County. Community Relation Latino Liaison  That year I came back to the University, this time, to take a course on English Phonetic Alphabet (as you can see, I did not excel at it –public laugh-). Today I am here, receiving this award, which confirms to me we are on the right track, where we all face new challenges to be overcome, where the new generations may learn faster, but that at the end of the day, discipline, responsibility, family values, and moral principles mut be present to produce the changes and the improvements that will transcend time, keeping in mind that the future is everything we do today.




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