Skip to Content
Please select menu on current page.

Leaders and Legends 2016 Recap

If you were unable to attend this year’s Leaders and Legends Celebration Luncheon, you missed a great event.  Over 250 guests came to enjoy some great food; see old friends, and make some new ones; meet an outstanding education professional; and honor retired United States Congressman, Ed Pastor.

Congressman Pastor, our Honoree, was recognized for his contributions to improving education in our state, and across the country.

Congressman Pastor (Ed) was born in Claypool, Arizona and attended Miami High School, where he played football, served as the Director of the intramural program, was a member of the student council, and President of his Senior Class.

After high school, Ed headed off to Phoenix and enrolled at Arizona State University, becoming the first member of his family to attend college.  He graduated from ASU with a degree in Chemistry in 1966, and soon became the Chemistry teacher at Phoenix’s North High School.

itsu-3178Ed soon began working out in the community to help his friends and neighbors, and realized tht he could help even more with a law degree.    So, he went back to ASU and earned his law degree in 1974, which continued to enhance his passion for public service.

Ed became a member of then Governor Raul Castro’s cabinet, ensuring that every worker was receiving an equal opportunity to work in a discrimination-free environment.  In 1976, he ran for, and was elected to the first of his three terms on the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.

itsu-3182After three terms as a member of the County Board of Supervisors, Ed wanted to do more for his fellow Arizonans, and more for his country.  In 1991, Ed entered a special election to fill the seat of long time Arizona Congressman, Mo Udall, who had announced his retirement.  And, when he won that election, Ed became the first Latino to represent Arizona in the United States Congress.

Throughout his 11 terms in Congress, Ed was known as one of its most respected members.  He cared about his constituents, with his outreach offices in Tucson, Yuma and Phoenix being recognized as among the most effective in the country.

Congressman Pastor received his Leaders and Legends award from his long time friend, and event chairman, Ronnie Lopez.

David J. Rodriguez Martinez, of Tucson’s Metropolitan Education Commission (MEC), was the recipient of the 2016 College Success Arizona Star Award.

The Star Award recognizes college access and success professionals who demonstrate an extraordinary level of personal commitment and leadership in helping Arizona students achieve their postsecondary education goals.  Recipients of the Star Award go above and beyond to help students, and particularly those that are low-income, first-generation students, gain access to higher education.  David’s dedication to student success helps to strengthen our state by providing the tools to develop an educated workforce.

David serves as the Coordinator for the Metropolitan Education Commission’s Regional College Access Center, in Tucson. He is well known throughout the community for the work he has performed helping students access higher education opportunities. Through the Center, David and the team work with high school counselors, and provides 20 Student Ambassadors at nine high schools, and library sites, to educate the citizens of Pima and Santa Cruz Counties on postsecondary access and planning.

The audience was also treated to something different this year.  Two of our outstanding scholars were interviewed by local news anchor, Nick Ciletti, live, on stage.

Camila Moreno is a College Success Arizona scholar, from Phoenix, who attended Carl Hayden High School.  Camila graduated this past spring from Grand Canyon Unitersity, where she earned her degree in Nursing.  Camila is already out in the workforce, she started working, before graduation, for Banner Hospitals.

Marc Sanchez, is a College Success Arizona scholar, who attended Cibola High School, in Yuma, before enrolling at the University of Arizona.  Marc is studying graphic design, and is expected to graduate in the spring of 2017.  During his college career, Marc had the opportunity to study abroad in Italy, and work for the U.S. Government (U.S.D.A.) in Wyoming.

The conversation Nick, Camila, and Marc had gave everyone in attendance an insight into what it’s like to be a college student in the 21st century.

If you weren’t there, here are some images that try to capture the spirit of the event.  We’ve also posted several photos of the day on our Facebook page.

Be sure to contact us so you can attend next year’s event, tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, October 25, 2017.

Thank you again to all of our supporters.  We couldn’t do what we do without you!

2016 Leaders and Legends Sponsors:


  • Arizona Science Center
  • Helios Education Foundation


  • Carstens Family Funds


  • Arizona Public Service
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona
  • Phoenix Business Journal


  • Alliance Bank of Arizona
  • Arizona Community Foundation
  • Arizona State University
  • Copperpoint Mutual Insurance Company
  • Freeport – McMoRan
  • Salt River Project


  • Be a Leader FoundationCenter for the Future of Arizona
  • Grand Canyon University
  • Hensley Beverage Company
  • John & Melissa Fees Family Fund
  • Maricopa County Community College Foundation
  • Preferred Medical Claim Solutions, LLC
Back to top