The City of Tampa Mayor’s Hispanic Advisory Council has selected Dr. Anh-Kay Pizano, lifelong champion of educational access for disadvantaged and minority students, as the 9th recipient of its Matilda Martínez Garcia Leadership Award.
The award, to be presented at the Council’s 23rd annual Latinos Unidos Luncheon on May 11, recognizes people or organizations that have made outstanding contributions to the betterment of the Hispanic community.
"The vote was unanimous for our esteemed colleague, who co-chaired this year's luncheon and who died unexpectedly on March 3," said Council Chairman Brian Serrano.
Honoring the Life of Dr. Pizano
As an alumna of Jefferson High School and the USF Latino Scholarship Program, former Cuban refugee Dr. Pizano understood firsthand that higher education is pivotal to achieving The American Dream.
She devoted her entire career to education-focused positions serving as an undergraduate recruiter, Florida College Access Network (FCAN) leader, scholarship fundraiser and much more. In each, she opened doors of access and opportunity to students and parents who thought higher education was beyond their reach.
In her last position, as Director of Admissions for USF’s Morsani College of Medicine, she recruited, encouraged, and influenced hundreds of students, many of them minorities, who are now practicing physicians throughout our state and nation.
The attainment of her PhD in 2020 not only fulfilled her dreams, but has already inspired several, especially women, to launch that pursuit, encouraged by her as their role model. As a ten-year member of the Council, Dr. Pizano led online outreach initiatives to inform the community about health issues, most recently related to COVID-19 and vaccinations.
As co-chair of the 2022 Latinos Unidos Luncheon, she secured high-tech mogul Elias Torres as speaker, and motivated members to secure sponsors with her rallying cry of All Hands on Deck, which the Council has adopted as its motto.
On a personal level, Dr. Pizano impacted others with her quiet resilience, collaborative leadership style, her empathy and her humility.
“Although her life was cut short, her beautiful legacy of service-centered commitment to our community should forever be celebrated,” said Braulio Colón, Vice-President for Student Success, Helios Education Foundation.
The Matilda Martinez Garcia Award is named for an outstanding Tampa native and founding member of the Council.
The Latinos Unidos Luncheon showcases the rising influence and economic impact of Hispanics in our region, state and nation. Net proceeds support need-based scholarships for local students attending Hillsborough Community College, University of South Florida or University of Tampa.
For tickets to the luncheon, go to www.tampagov.net/MHAC
For additional information, please contact:
Francisco Milian, Liaison