Annual Scholarship Luncheon
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Learn More About Our Awardees
Aaronetta Pierce, a Tennessee native, was raised by educators who worked tirelessly to improve their community and provide opportunities for others. As it was legally forbidden for African Americans to attend the main library, the ballet, the symphony, and the theater, she credits the Historically Black Colleges of Tennessee State University, Fisk University, and Meharry Medical College with revealing the extraordinary cultural contributions and the artistic genius of African Americans.
After purchasing Uncle Ben’s Bar-B-Q in 1946, Rosemary and her husband expanded the business to include Uncle Ben’s Catering Service, one of the first catering companies in Texas. Then came Catering by Rosemary, and finally, The RK Group, a three generation, family-owned hospitality company.
With an incredible entrepreneurial drive, Rosemary credits God and having lucky stars most of the time for her success. She always shared gratitude, and many of the 800 RK employees are third and fourth generation who show passion, dedication, and a strong work ethic. This has resulted in sustaining various long-term relationships such as the one with the City of San Antonio which began contracting with the RK Group in 1971. Although Rosemary has served the Pope, eight presidents, kings, queens, television and movie stars, business and political tycoons, there are countless others who have enjoyed her service through her philanthropic efforts. Considered a “tough life” teacher, Rosemary has always rewarded great ambition, service, attitude, and relationships.
She served the state of Texas through her roles as Commissioner for the Texas Department of Transportation and the Texas Workforce Commission, and was Texas’ first female Hispanic Secretary of State, and also the longest-serving Secretary of State in Texas history. Hope has held multiple leadership roles in civic and community organizations and is the recipient of numerous personal, business, community, and international awards and recognitions. Hope is co-founder and partner of the highly successful GO RIO San Antonio River Cruises,which operates the river barges and concessions on the historic San Antonio River Walk; and Andrade-Van de Putte & Associates, which is a bipartisan consulting firm focused on bridging the gap between government entities and the business community.
Mayor Emeritus Lila Cockrell scholar and Alamo Colleges graduate, Ruby Echevarria, shares her heartfelt story about the scholarship program and how it helped her meet her long-term goals.