Annual Amigos Latinos gala to honor community members

The annual Amigos Latinos Gala, the signature fundraiser for the Amigos Latinos Scholarship at Wright State University, will take place on Saturday, Oct. 7, at the Wright State Nutter Center.

Wright State University’s Amigos Latinos Alumni Society and Latino Center will support students and celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month at the eighth annual Amigos Latinos Gala.

The Amigos Latinos Gala is a night of food, dancing, live music, awards and a silent auction. It is the signature fundraiser for the Amigos Latinos Scholarship and helps support the mission and work of the Latino Center.

The gala will take place Saturday, Oct. 7, from 5:30 to 10 p.m. at the Wright State University Nutter Center. Tickets can be purchased at

“This year the gala has a theme, which is ‘Our journey,’” said Catherine Hernandez Hogan assistant director of the Wright State Latino Center. “This is a particularly powerful concept for immigrants. We honor the sacrifices made so that future generations could have a better life and better opportunities.”

Hernandez Hogan said that the gala’s keynote speaker, Felipe Lopez Sustaita, Ph.D., epitomizes this journey. Sustaita first came to the United States as a migrant worker and now serves as the associate dean for the Center for Student Support at Lansing Community College.

Members of the Wright State and local community who have made a significant and positive impact on the Latino community will also be recognized. Award recipients include:

  • El Jefe Student Leadership Award: Felipe Perez, junior marketing major, Raj Soin College of Business
  • La Jefa Student Leadership Award: Folasade Francia Fayiga, medical student, Boonshoft School of Medicine
  • Querido Amigo Staff Award: Jason Bickford, senior event coordinator, Division of Student Affairs
  • Querido Amigos Faculty Awards: Julan Al-Yassin, lecturer and director of the Actuarial Science Program, College of Science and Mathematics; Erik Potts, lecturer in mathematics and statistics, College of Science and Mathematics; and John Haught, Ph.D., professor of applied linguistics and TESOL, College of Liberal Arts
  • Amiga Del Pueblo Community Award: Laura Bucio, Tecumseh Local Schools TESOL coordinator

The evening’s most prestigious award, the Community Hero Award, will be presented to Roberto Colón, M.D., chief medical officer of Premier Health, for his efforts in information coordination and dissemination during the pandemic.

“I am honored and humbled by this recognition,” Colón said. “The pandemic was a very scary time for everyone. It was my job to convey information to the community as well as to hospital staff in a way that would promote understanding rather than fear. One of the more impactful things I learned during that time that was particularly impactful was messaging needed to be a little different for our various community groups. The gaps in healthcare among minority groups were magnified by COVID. For me, that was an opportunity to do more outreach.”

A native of Puerto Rico, Colón moved to New Jersey with his family around the age of 13. Although he initially faced the challenges of the language barrier, he quickly learned and adapted through the support and encouragement of his family and teachers.

Colón knew he wanted to go into medicine early on. He spent nine years in the United States Air Force, obtaining the rank of lieutenant colonel. An Air Force medical scholarship made it possible for him to attend college and eventually to go to medical school. After a residency in Ohio, Colón worked as the residency program director at Wright State University before transitioning to a career with Premier Health.

Those unable to attend the gala can still donate to the scholarship fund by contacting Catherine Hernandez Hogan at

To donate items to the silent auction, contact Karla Knox at

Participants can register to participate in silent auction items online and view items available on the gala’s website.

Philanthropists and local businesses can connect with the Latino community through the Amigos Latinos Gala. Sponsorship levels and promotional opportunities are available at

All proceeds support Latino student scholarships and programs at Wright State University.

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