Noted Artist Pablo Davis, who worked alongside Mexican artist Diego Rivera on his renowned Detroit Industry murals in the early 1930’s, was an honored guest. The frescoes, considered to be Rivera’s most important work in the U.S. frame the courtyard where the Gala reception was held.
Other honored guests included the Hon. Vicente Sanchez Ventura, Hon. Jorge Sanchez, both Consuls of Mexico, and Duron Marshall representing U.S.. Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick. All the guests were serenaded by Grammy nominated Mariachi Band “Salvador Torres.”
A ninety-minute program was held at the DIA Auditorium to give out special honors in what is planned to be the first of an annual event. The evening was hosted by WJR Radio’s Paul W. Smith of the Paul W. Smith Morning Show.
Receiving honors for their commitment and caring for Southeast Michigan’s growing Hispanic community were: Ricardo Guzman accepting on behalf of the Chass Clinic for Humanitarian of the Year; Lydia Gutierrez, President of Hacienda Foods, Small Business of the Year, and Jon W. Bilstrom, Executive Vice President Governance, Regulatory Relations & Legal Affairs & Secretary of Comerica Incorporated accepted the Corporation of the Year award on behalf of Comerica Bank for their strong, and continued, support of the Hispanic community.
The audience also enjoyed remarks from Greg Fess, Senior Vice President and COO, of Equity Media Holdings. Fess is a founder of Equity Broadcasting Corporation, one of the largest owners and operators of TV stations in the United States and the second largest affiliate group of top-ranked Univision television network.
Greg introduced WUDT-TV General Manager Jessica Pellegrino and visiting KUKC-TV Kansas City General Manager Shelly Bowles. Pellegrino addressed the audience congratulating the awardees and emphasized the importance of having a local Spanish language Univision-TV affiliate in the Metro Detroit area.
“Our Hispanic Community now has a local source for news, information and entertainment in Spanish, in its own language. Our local and national programming and our advertising resonates with this audience in a way that no other medium can,” Pellegrino said. A video presentation of Univision-TV’s fall programming was shown following her remarks.
Paul W. Smith then proudly announced that a locally produced WUDT-TV program was one of three finalists in the Detroit Emmy competition. The “Informando” program on gangs was nominated in the Public Affairs programming category. “Informando” hosts Gloria Guerra-Biegen and Gustavo Torres were introduced to the crowd.
Another major announcement about the two-year old TV station was that the Troy, Michigan based station will be moving its headquarters to the Penobscot Building in Downtown Detroit. Both Mayor Kilpatrick and Wayne Co. Executive Ficano congratulated WUDT-TV on its upcoming move in taped video greetings.
Comerica’s Jon W. Bilstrom introduced Comerica Bank’s Monica L. Martinez, Vice President Hispanic Business Affairs Manager and Business Affairs to the crowd and together they presented Pellegrino a “Comerica Park” baseball jacket to welcome the station to “the neighborhood.”
The evening continued with an Afterglow in the Rivera court, complete with food and beverage and salsa dancing. Guests declared this first-time event a “smashing success.”