Hispanic Business Association.

ASU Hispanic Business Alumni chapter celebrates 40 years of giving

The chapter is committed to supporting Hispanic and Latinx undergraduate scholars through mentorship and scholarship opportunities.

Molly Loonam

"I'm the first college graduate in my family. Higher education has always been important to me, so much so that it became my career," says Geneva Escobedo (BS Management '78). "It has been, for me, a personal mission; through education, we can give back to the community."

Before retiring in 2016, Escobedo spent 30 years in higher education in roles at ASU and Pima Community College. She is also the founding president of ASU's Hispanic Business Alumni (HBA) chapter, which Escobedo founded in 1982 with three other officers to support current and future Hispanic students pursuing higher education through mentorship and scholarships.

Geneva Escobedo presenting at an HBA board meeting.

Escobedo wrote about her memories of fundraising activities and community building during the chapter's early years. Since 1982, the HBA has grown to over 3,000 active members and has awarded more than $1 million in scholarships to ASU business students.

"It's beyond my wildest dreams," says Escobedo. "I'm so proud of how the HBA has developed. It's made such an impact on students and created some amazing leaders."

Tristen Ochoa (BS Computer Information Systems '18) is entering his fourth year as HBA president and says it's heartwarming to meet the chapter's scholarship recipients.

"A lot of us come from similar backgrounds and either didn't have enough to provide for college or experienced the struggles of applying for scholarships while working and going to school," says Ochoa. "Providing financial relief to students allows them to take advantage of more opportunities at ASU. That makes me grateful."

Several local businesses endow the HBA, including the Si Se Puede Foundation, the Chicano/Latino Faculty and Staff Association, Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc., Los Diablos Alumni, and the Hispanic Women's Corporation. The association holds networking, community, and fundraising events throughout the year, including their signature Sparky Classic golf tournament each spring. Their Noche De Loteria event on Oct. 6 will raise scholarship funds for ASU business students during an evening of games, food, giveaways, and entertainment. This year, the HBA is awarding scholarships to 22 ASU students.

"College can be intimidating — especially life after college," says Ochoa. "Many of us joined the HBA to provide guidance to students from similar backgrounds."

Building community on campus

While pursuing his undergraduate degree, Ochoa was a member of the Hispanic Business Student Association (HBSA), serving as outreach coordinator, marketing director, and vice president of activities HBA and HBSA partner on events and socials to encourage student and alum networking.

"I can't express how amazing HBSA has been in my community," says Kaitlyn Marx (BS Management '24), outgoing HBSA president. "HBSA is a space for Hispanic and Latinx students to develop academically and get exposure to different career opportunities."

The HBSA was founded in 1974 to increase Hispanic student graduation rates, develop student leadership and business skills, and promote Hispanic culture and social interaction on campus through fundraisers, career workshops, and volunteer and social events. Four HBSA alumni advisors also provide mentorship to current members. In spring, Marx met with alum advisor Professor Emeritus Loui Olivas weekly during her semester as HBSA president for support and guidance.

"Professor Olivas is a great resource and leader in our community. He helps us make connections in the Arizona and Hispanic communities, which all advisors do," says Marx. "It's great to have them on our team."

Marx heard about the HBSA as an incoming first-year student. Her peers encouraged her to get involved and run for office — something Marx never thought she would be interested in pursuing — which led to more leadership opportunities outside the association. This fall, she is studying abroad with four other HBSA members in Barcelona, Spain. Marx says she's looking forward to the semester because her HBSA friends are each other's cheerleaders.

"It's going to be a great experience," says Marx. "We help each other professionally and push each other to explore different opportunities. I can't express how grateful I am for HBSA."

Celebrating 40 years of the HBA

The HBA celebrated its 40th anniversary in spring but couldn't hold an event to mark the milestone due to COVID restrictions. The chapter plans to highlight the anniversary this fall during their Noche de Loteria event.

Reminiscing on her HBA experience, a special memory for Escobedo is the Oct. 2021 ASU Homecoming game when the ASU Alumni Association awarded current and past HBA presidents with the Alumni Achievement Award at halftime. The chapter was recognized for its commitment to supporting Hispanic undergraduate scholars and presented a plaque by President Michael Crow.

"It filled us all with pride," says Escobedo. "Getting that recognition after all those years of working on the HBA to increase Hispanic student graduates was very fulfilling."

Escobedo is already looking forward to celebrating 50 years as an ASU graduate in 2028. Until then, she's continuing her education advocacy by serving as the governing board chair of Chicanos Por La Causa Community Schools. An avid writer, Escobedo is also preparing to publish her second book, Reflections of the Heart: Stories and Poems from Life. Her first book, Dichos de Mi Padre: Sayings of My Father, was a 2019 International Latino Book Awards nominee for best first nonfiction book and received honorable mention.

"For me, the HBA is family and we are proud that we have achieved our goals and graduated from the business college," says Escobedo. "I am honored to have received my degree from ASU."

Hispanic Heritage Month

This Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 – Oct. 15), ASU invites faculty, staff, and organizations to celebrate the enduring contributions and significance of Latin Americans within the U.S. through events, stories, and knowledge. The HBA community is proud to support Hispanic and Latinx scholars through monetary gifts and mentorship during their academic careers and beyond.

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