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UTHSCSA and TAMIU to honor Sen. Zaffirini

State Sen. Judith Zaffirini of Laredo will be honored with a unique award given by two university presidents from the state's two largest higher education systems: The University of Texas and Texas A&M. The award will be presented at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 30, at the D. D. Hachar Building on the Laredo Extension Campus of The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA). Ray M. Keck, III, Ph.D., president of Texas A&M International University (TAMIU), and Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., president of UTHSCSA, will present the award to Sen. Zaffirini for outstanding leadership in higher education legislation.

Sen. Zaffirini authored bills that established both TAMIU and the UTHSCSA Laredo Extension Campus. This is the first time Drs. Cigarroa and Keck have presented a joint award.

Sen. Zaffirini will be escorted on a pre-opening tour of the building, located at 1937 E. Bustamante St. UTHSCSA will host a dedication ceremony later this year.

The first building in the new Laredo Campus Extension, the D.D. Hachar Building, is named for the late Laredo philanthropist and businessman D.D. Hachar. The 19,800-square-foot facility will house programs funded through the South Texas/Border Region Health Professional Initiative (STBI); allied health course offerings in emergency medical technology, clinical laboratory sciences, occupational therapy and respiratory care; an academy of homeland defense and preparedness; and occupational/environmental health training for medical students and physicians.

Hachar, a Lebanese immigrant from Syria who overcame early financial disadvantages, created the D.D. Hachar Charitable Trust Fund to provide financial support to educational institutions seeking to extend facilities and services to students in the Laredo area. It is one of the largest philanthropic efforts devoted to advancing health and educational opportunities in South Texas. The trust gave a gift of $2 million, the largest disbursement in its history, for the Laredo Extension Campus.

Contact: Will Sansom