Cesar E. Chavez Unity Committee
The Hispanic Scholarship fund was established in 1992 to attract and assist Hispanic students to Grand Valley State University (GVSU). In October 2015, the scholarship was renamed by the Committee to Honor Cesar E. Chavez to honor the leadership of Lupe Ramos-Montigny ’79. Lupe Ramos-Montigny (D-Grand Rapids) is no stranger to hard work. Born in Weslaco, Texas, Ms. Ramos Montigny traveled to Michigan as a young girl to harvest beets in Caseville, cherries in Old Mission Peninsula, and tomatoes in Indiana. Her parents, Ysidro and Maria, traveled with six (6) daughters and one (1) son from Texas to earn extra money to help the family with expenses. This experience taught her the value of sustained effort, the importance of education, and the need for advocacy for minorities.
Her father, Ysidro, helped educate the family of nine children despite his limited education. The Ramos family produced a businessman, an attorney, nurses, educators, a legal secretary, and an auto mechanic. Ms. Ramos-Montigny earned her Bachelor of Science Degree at Pan American University in Edinburg, Texas. When her first born son, Gerard, was three years old she attended GVSU where she earned her Master of Science Degree in Allendale, Michigan, with an emphasis in Bilingual Education.
Most of her professional career was dedicated to the Grand Rapids Public Schools. She cultivates a harvest of another kind to serve as a role model of civic action, cultural awareness, gender equity, and dedicated leadership. The Committee to Honor Cesar E. Chavez was founded in the year 2000 by dedicated community volunteers. Ms. Ramos has served as the chairperson for thirteen (13) years. The Committee dedicates most of its work to advance the educational goals of Hispanic students pursuing a college education.
The Cesar E. Chavez Unity Committee was organized on January 24,2012 to partner with the Committee to Honor Cesar E. Chavez in order to enhance the mission in a broader scope united with Aquinas College, Davenport University, Ferris State University, Grand Rapids Community College, Grand Rapids Public Museum, Grand Rapids Public Schools, and Grand Valley State University. Many volunteers have come and gone but Ms. Ramos-Montigny keeps her eye on the prize …the students.