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Houston Hispanic Icons Rule This Night — Community Leaders, Astros Stars, Surgeons and Restaurateurs Come Together

An Evening Of Salsa Music, Dancing and Funding Difference-Making Scholarships

BY // 09.26.22

The Hilton Americas-Houston ballroom pulsated with the vibrancy of salsa music and dance as the Institute of Hispanic Culture of Houston celebrated its 65 years of preserving Hispanic heritage and providing merit-based scholarships for exemplary students of Hispanic heritage. The glittery night honored five couples and four individuals who have set a course of excellence in the Hispanic community and throughout Houston.

The evening was in the dedicated hands of proud Hispanic immigrants in chair Marcelo Saenz and co-chair Adrians Dueñas, both from Ecuador, and co-chair Silvia Salle from Uruguay, with an assist from IHCH board president Carmen Herrada, originally from Spain. With English as the second language of many among the 400 attending, the lilting Spanish accents added authenticity to the night.

Saenz and Dueñas had dual roles as their companies, BeDesign and Residences at The Allen, served as presenting sponsors of the evening that raised a record $300,000 for Institute of Hispanic Culture.

Taking bows as “notable heroes of the Hispanic community” were plastic surgeon Dr. German Newall and wife Micheline; Texas Children’s Hospital’s Dr. Ricky Flores and Monica Medina; Astros star Jose Altuve and his wife Nina (she attended while he  played a game at Minute Maid Park); BCN and MAD restaurant owners Isabel and Ignacio Torres; Mari Carmen Ramírez, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston curator of Latin American art; Rosalinda Martinez, director of community strategy for the Texas AARP; Silvia Graves, founding partner of Graves & Graves global immigration law firm;  LICS Houston executive director Lara Jaramillo and Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Rick Jaramillo and civil rights activist and attorney Tony Bonilla Sr. of Corpus Christi.

Milka Waterland, Rani Edlebi, Elia Gabbinelli at the Institute of Hispanic Culture Houston gala. (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)
Milka Waterland, Rani Edlebi, Elia Gabbinelli at the Institute of Hispanic Culture Houston gala. (Photo by Daniel Ortiz)

After the Astros’ rare defeat at the hands of the Oakland Athletics, Yordan Alvarez, a native of Cuba, and his wife Monica joined the party. Nina Altuve closed out the night solo.

PC Seen: Roberto Contreras IV, China Contreras, Amanda Edwards, Celina Hellmund, Mario Gudmundsson, Mayte Weitzman, Miriam Sera, Rey Ocanas and Orlando Manzo, Elia Gabbanelli, Milka Waterland-Guzman, Mauricio Sampogna, Eugenia Rojas, Lee and Cookie Centracco, and Joanne Houck.

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