OLLU student Eddie Ortiz receives scholarship award from financial organization

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OLLU student Juan 'Eddie' Ortiz receives scholarship award from financial organization


 Professor Kathryn Winney presents Juan "Eddie" Ortiz with
the award certificate.

Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) junior Juan "Eddie" Ortiz received the Financial Executives International (FEI) organization's Dr. Keith A. Russell Memorial Award for Academic Excellence on Tuesday evening.

Kathryn M. Winney, Assistant Professor of Accounting in OLLU's School of Business and Leadership, nominated Ortiz for the $3,000 scholarship award. She said in her introduction of Ortiz, "It didn't take me more than two seconds to know that I wanted to nominate Juan for this award. He has received excellent grades in all of my classes, and he has demonstrated an incredible amount of discipline as he juggles both his academic and athletic commitments."

Dr. Maria Hernandez Ferrier, president of Texas A&M University – San Antonio and alumna of OLLU, was the guest speaker  at the awards banquet that took place in downtown San Antonio at the Frost Bank Plaza Club. Attendees included financial executives and educators from throughout the city and surround areas.

Ed Prike, chapter president of FEI, introduced awards chair Dr. James Hackard, who made the presentations to the finance and accounting college student recipients from Alamo Colleges, St. Mary's University, Texas A&M University – San Antonio, Texas Lutheran University, Trinity University, University of Texas at San Antonio University of the Incarnate Word and OLLU.

Pictured from left are Dr. James Hackard, Professor Winney,  Ortiz, Dr. Maria Hernandez Ferrier,
Sarah Lindsay and Ed Prike.

Ortiz is not only a scholar, but he is also a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics' (NAIA) No. 7-ranked OLLU Saints basketball team, which last week won the Red River Athletic Conference regular season title.

He joined the team in its inaugural season in 2009 as a walk-on. Head Coach Russell Vanlandingham said, "Eddie's a perfect example of what one can accomplish with hard work and dedication. He was not recruited, but in three years, he has become a top player, a 4.0 scholar athlete and he is now on scholarship."

Time management is an integral part of his lifestyle as he juggles schoolwork, basketball, work and an internship.

"It gets difficult with all the road trips," Ortiz said. "Sometimes some of the guys have social time, and that's fun and all, but I have to sacrifice some of that social time."

Ortiz likes to get in a lot of working hours at the University's Finance and Accounts Payable office in the morning to be able to have time for his other commitments.

"I have to start my day early to make sure I have enough time to do everything I need to do," Ortiz said.

Despite some of the sacrifices he has to make, Ortiz takes it all in stride.

Oritz excels on the
court as a shooting guard.

"It all goes hand in hand. If I do really well in my schoolwork, I'm in a good mood at practice," Ortiz said.

However, Ortiz admits that his priorities have not always been on school.  In his first semester at OLLU, he struggled earning a 2.0 GPA; he has progressed significantly as he notched a 4.0 GPA last semester.

With the strides he has made Ortiz is well on his way to graduate next December with a degree in accounting.

The Financial Executives International scholarship is a big blessing for Ortiz and during his acceptance speech, he showed his gratitude to Professor Winney. "She has taught me everything I know about accounting, and she's shown me how to be ethical in all that I do."

After graduation, Ortiz plans on pursuing a master's degree in accounting and becoming a certified public accountant.

According to Ortiz, his dream of becoming a certified public accountant is the reason for his turnaround in his schoolwork.

"I realized it's hard to become a CPA, and if I focus on my studies now I figure I can be ahead of the crowd," Ortiz said.