Thursday, October 2, 2014

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Panamanian Graduate Becomes First International Student to Win U.Va. Young Alumni Award

The founding president of the UVaClub of Panama, Ivan Vallarino, is the first international alumnus to win the University of Virginia’s Young Alumni Council Alumni Service Award.

Vallarino graduated in 2005 from the College of Arts in Sciences with a degree in foreign affairs and a history minor, but his impact since graduation has benefited multiple schools, disciplines and U.Va. engagement in Panama.

Edward Berger, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and associate dean in the School of Engineering and Applied Science who was among those who nominated Vallarino for the award, said Vallarino has been “such a great ambassador for U.Va. and has such affection for the University.”

The nominating committee detailed Vallarino’s dedication to a wide range of projects, including the College’s Panama Initiative, the Engineering School’s new January Term class on the expansion of the Panama Canal and the McIntire School of Commerce’s first Global Immersion Experience Panama offering, set to begin this summer.

Berger called Vallarino the “linchpin” to the success of the Panama Canal J-Term class and praised him for helping U.Va. offer internships to engineering students in the Panamanian banking and construction industries for the first time this summer. “He made calls on my behalf,” a grateful Berger said.

Vallarino’s support of the University extends beyond academics and student support. Nominees wrote that he “consistently welcomes visitors from U.Va. to Panama,” encourages high school students to apply to U.Va. (including his brother, Carlos, who graduated from McIntire last year), and supports continued engagement with parents.

“I just cannot think of enough good things to say about Ivan,” Berger said.

The Young Alumni Council has been giving the awards to outstanding alumni since 2003. Winners are honored at an annual awards ceremony and can direct a $1,000 gift from the award endowment to benefit any area of the University.

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