Rice University professor Richard Tapia, recognized nationally and internationally for his work in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Mayor's Hispanic Heritage Awards Ceremony held at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
Among Tapia's many honors is the National Medal of Science, presented to him by President Obama. The Houston award held special meaning for the scientist who told the gathering that he felt "complete" after being recognized on his home turf.
Also receiving honors were University of Houston Law Center professor Michael Olivas for Education, Jose Antonio Diaz for Art in the Community, Demetrius Navarro for Community Activist and Maria Teresa Castillo-Valle for Youth Activist. All awards were presented by Mayor Annise Parker.
The Mayor's Hispanic Advisory Board chairman Roland Garcia welcomed the crowd of more than 400 to the event that was chaired by Lauren Soliz and Lenora Sorola. KTRK Channel 13's Erik Barajas and Univision 45's Rebecca Suarez served as emcees of the evening that celebrated Houston's rich diversity and cultural heritage.
The heavy-hitter crowd included Harris County attorney Vince Ryan, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, HISD board president Juliet Stipech, city councilman Dave Martin, Harris County treasurer Orlando Sanchez, Port Commissioner Theldon Branch, Metro chairman Gilbert Garcia, Hispanic Advisory Board co-chair Yolanda Black Navarro, Judge Jim Sharp and Judge Barbara Hartle.