AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega to be Inducted into Prestigious Hispanic Scholarship Fund Hall of Fame
Successful Latino Professionals Honored at Annual Gala to Inspire Hispanic Youth
San Francisco, California, June 2008
The Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF), the nation’s largest organization in support of Latino higher education, has selected Ralph de la Vega, President and CEO of AT&T Mobility, as an honorary inductee into its 2008 Alumni Hall of Fame. De la Vega will receive the Triunfador Award at the HSF Alumni Hall of Fame gala on Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2008, at the Pierre Hotel in New York City.
Each year, HSF selects five accomplished Latinos to induct into its prestigious Alumni Hall of Fame. Four of the exceptional individuals are HSF alumni, who each received HSF scholarships to support their higher education aspirations. A fifth individual, while not a former HSF Scholar, is presented with the honorary Triunfador Award for realizing the ultimate professional achievement and “raising the bar.”
“We are proud to honor Mr. de la Vega because he personifies the mission and values of HSF,” said Frank D. Alvarez, HSF President & CEO. “He is an inspiration to aspiring Latinos everywhere. His success story is testimony to the impact of higher education and the tremendous difference it makes in a life.”
Alvarez said de la Vega serves as a positive role model for Latino students, which is a trademark of previous HSF Alumni Hall of Fame honorees. “Annually, the inspiring stories of HSF’s inductees put a face on and demonstrate the power of higher education,” he said.
A native of Cuba, de la Vega came to the United States alone at the age of 10, while his parents were forced to stay behind because of complications with their immigration documentation. Leaving behind everything but his suitcase and the clothes on his back, de la Vega lived with family friends in Miami for four years before reuniting with his parents and sister.
In spite of these challenges, de la Vega’s family instilled in him an appreciation for education, and he went on to earn a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Florida Atlantic University and an MBA from Northern Illinois University. In addition to his degrees, de la Vega completed the Executive Program at the University of Virginia.
De la Vega’s commitment to community service is reflected by his active participation in many youth-oriented organizations. He serves as Vice Chairman of the Board for Junior Achievement (JA) Worldwide and sits on the Boy Scouts of America Board of Directors. He also serves as Chairman of the JA Hispanic Initiative, a program that encourages Hispanic students to remain in school and prepare for success in the business world.
“I am honored to be a part of HSF and the valuable work it does in developing the next generation of Latino leaders,” de la Vega said. “I have always believed in helping young people recognize their own potential and become all they can be. And HSF is among the most successful organizations in our country at doing this.”
De la Vega has had a distinguished career in telecommunications. In 1974, he started with BellSouth (then Southern Bell) as a Management Assistant. He worked his way up to directing all of BellSouth’s Telecommunications Network Operations for Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi. He has also worked internationally, serving as President — BellSouth Latin America, with overall responsibility for BellSouth’s Central and South American operations in 11 countries.
In 2004, de la Vega joined Cingular Wireless as Chief Operating Officer and successfully guided the company through a landmark merger with AT&T Wireless to create the nation’s largest wireless phone company.
In late 2007, shortly after the new AT&T acquired BellSouth and took full ownership of Cingular, de la Vega was appointed President and CEO of AT&T Mobility, ensuring the successful rebranding of the company and the launch of the revolutionary iPhone, as well as a continuum of other innovative devices and services.
De la Vega is the first honoree to be selected for the 2008 recognition. The four alumni recipients will be announced in July.
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