Zapanta’s delight in the University of Dallas community is also evident: “It’s no secret the feeling that Rochelle and I have when we come up here every Saturday afternoon at five and go to church.” Having attended mass on campus for many years and serving on the University of Dallas Board of Trustees for the last three years, Zapanta has dreamed of more deeply connecting the university to the Irving community.
One dream recently came to fruition as he endowed the Honorable Albert C. Zapanta and Family Scholarship for City of Irving Residents. This scholarship will benefit one male and one female student from Irving attending UD each year.
“The City of Irving, once you get involved in it, it gets into your blood, and you just want to give more back,” said Irving Mayor Rick Stopfer at the ceremony celebrating the endowment. “We’re blessed to have great people within our community, and when you have those people like Al and Rochelle who give back to the community, and who are involved in the community, it just makes more of us want to do more, and gets more people involved, and really makes a difference in how we as a community survive and strive and are successful. What Al brings to the table is so important, because it’s the connections – it’s the ability to bring others together so we can grow the city, and I think that by the actions he and his family are taking today, it puts a light on the university. It puts a challenge out there for others in the community to step up and have the opportunity to see what they can do."
A common thread spoken of throughout the ceremony was Zapanta’s ability to connect. This skill and gift are seen in his capacity as president and CEO of the United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce, his success in the private sector, and his passion for strengthening of the UD-Irving relationship.
Irving City Manager Chris Hillman said, “It really is all about the students – it’s about helping them succeed, and specifically for Irving residents, Irving students to succeed, and that really does show the love and the compassion and the care that Al and his entire family have for the City of Irving.” Hillman spoke of how Zapanta’s generosity “will be felt for generations,” and this “will be providing a life changing moment for student after student after student.”
Sanford shared, “It is a remarkable thing to have this kind of investment in the City of Irving. We are so proud to be in the City of Irving.”
Zapanta spoke fondly of his “teammates” in improving the city. He said, “It is all about making a difference… this is my way of saying ‘thank you.’” He gave heartfelt thanks to others who have worked alongside him in Irving and those who have served as trustees.
Sanford reflected, “When I think about the investment that the Zapanta family is making here in the University of Dallas, it’s really going to be transformative.”
Zapanta was joined by his wife, Rochelle, and his daughter and granddaughter as they celebrated the newly endowed scholarship benefitting local students.