College welcomes Welcome Center

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Mariachi Nuevo Estilo performs a cover of Bruno Mars' "Uptown Funk" at the grand opening of the Welcome Center May 22. Photo by E. David Guel

Mariachi Nuevo Estilo performs a cover of Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk” at the grand opening of the Welcome Center May 22. Photo by E. David Guel

Namesake Durans attend VIP opening and donate to scholarships.

By Richard Montemayor

rmontemayor15@student.alamo.edu

President Robert Vela welcomes attendees to the grand opening of the Tino and Millie Duran Welcome Center May 22 at North Main and Park. The new "front door" of this college will assist incoming students with enrollment and registration. Photo by E. David Guel

President Robert Vela welcomes attendees to the grand opening of the Tino and Millie Duran Welcome Center May 22 at North Main and Park. The new “front door” of this college will assist incoming students with enrollment and registration. Photo by E. David Guel

Mariachis serenading, this college’s flamenco group dancing and a food truck serving raspas helped open the Tino and Millie Duran Welcome Center Friday.

“This is the fiesta that we were talking about,” President Robert Vela said. “This is the official grand opening of — I think — one of the best looking centers I’ve ever seen in the country.”

The center is located within the mixed-use development at North Main and Park avenues east of the Tobin parking garage.

“What we wanted to create was a space without counters. We did not want students to walk up to a counter,” Vela said.

Former college President Robert Zeigler agreed. “You could really interact with people more better and it’s much more welcoming.”

Dance freshman Laura Adams, dance graduate Michelle Badillo and accounting sophomore Jenny Camacho perform a flamenco routine at the grand opening of the Welcome Center May 22. Photo by E. David Guel

Dance freshman Laura Adams, dance graduate Michelle Badillo and accounting sophomore Jenny Camacho perform a flamenco routine at the grand opening of the Welcome Center May 22. Photo by E. David Guel

In the past, Vela said that his office received complaints from new students who are frustrated over enrollment.

“This center will eliminate all that. Its high-tech and high touch — students will be assigned to students as well as staff, and folks can get any question or issue addressed,” Vela said.

The students who work here will help to guide new students through the whole process of enrollment, Vela said.

The center is named for Tino and Millie Duran, who have strong ties to this college.

Tino Duran got his start in journalism by attending classes and writing for The Ranger student newspaper 1959-1961.

He is the publisher of the city’s only bilingual newspaper, La

Jalise King-Vance takes a picture of her son Mikyl R. Vance Jr., 9, with the Gnome Ranger during the grand opening of the Welcome Center May 22. Photo by E. David Guel

Jalise King-Vance takes a picture of her son Mikyl R. Vance Jr., 9, with the Gnome Ranger during the grand opening of the Welcome Center May 22. Photo by E. David Guel

Prensa. His wife, Millie Duran, also attended this college before beginning her career working with children.

The Durans received honorary degrees in 2009, said public relations director Vanessa Torres.

The couple attended a VIP opening May 21.

“We had Tino And Millie Duran here on Thursday. It was more intimate. They had their family and friends here, and he was so moved and touched at the end of our celebration, that he wrote another $10,000 check for student scholarships,” Vela said.

The check will go to the Alamo Colleges Foundation.

“Tino and Millie Duran continue to open doors for our students and we wanted to give them some justice and credit to be sure that this will be their front door,” Vela said.

Phase 2 will feature an Apple Store, Vela said.

“In Phase 2, we will be selling educational products at a educational discount rate. We also have Apple certified technicians if you’re having issues with your iPhone or iPad,” Vela said.

The center will be open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday and Friday.

Beginning June 1, hours will be 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday.

For more information, call coordinator Nick Silva at 210-486-0230.

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