Alumni Association Honors Distinguished Graduates
Each year, the Saint Louis University-Madrid Alumni Association honors distinguished graduates who have excelled in their professions and contributed to the community at large. The Alumni Association also recognizes an outstanding member of the SLU-Madrid faculty as well as a company or organization that has shown exceptional commitment to the development and success of SLU-Madrid students and graduates.
The seventh annual Distinguished Alumni Awards Ceremony opened with words of welcome from Career Services Coordinator Patrice Burns and Academic Dean and Campus Director Dr. Paul Vita. Alumni Association representative Katherine Espinosa (Class of '13) then announced the honorees and detailed their achievements.
Emerging Leader Award
The Emerging Leader Award is presented to those alumni who have made a significant impact in their profession or community at large since graduation (2010-2020). The Alumni Association selected two recipients for this award this year.
Upon graduating from SLU-Madrid with a degree in international business, Maitane Aramburu Blanco started her career at Banco Santander, where she has been growing professionally for the past five years, fulfilling different roles within the group and taking an active role in social initiatives such as Santander Women's Network.
In her current role within the Santander Corporate & Investment Banking's sustainability team, she structures financial products for projects and companies that are contributing to the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This role has allowed her to explore ways in which her financial career can be fused with her passion for positively impacting society.
Fernando Restoy's journey of self-actualization began in Cambodia in 2014, when he first went to volunteer for Pour un Sourire d'Enfant (PSE), an NGO dedicated to changing the lives of Cambodian children suffering from defeatism and the vicious cycles of drug addiction, prostitution, gambling and violence. He observed that suffering in Cambodia did not end with the Khmer Rouge genocide and saw a need for children and adults to develop emotional self-awareness and empathy. After reading Emotional Intelligence, Dr. Daniel Goleman's bestseller, Restoy realized how he could be of service.
After graduating from Saint Louis University-Madrid with a degree in international business and earning a master's degree in international relations, Restoy interned at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. There, he initiated, planned and coordinated the first UN Conference on Emotional Intelligence. Since then, he has launched a distinguished career in the field. He has been invited to speak at the World Economic Forum in New York and at the Egmont Institute in Brussels, and wrote the Emotional Intelligence and the Sustainable Development Goals chapter in the Encyclopedia of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Most recently he founded the Ripple Effect, an organization with a mission driven by his dream to help adults, children, and youth worldwide build emotional intelligence and improve the future of communities that have been stricken by war and poverty.
Professional Achievement Award
The Professional Achievement Award recognizes those alumni who exemplify the mission of Saint Louis University in their daily lives. They have achieved outstanding success in their professional fields and brought credit to the University and benefit to their communities. This award honors alumni who graduated from 2000 to 2010.
Teresa Pérez-Piqueras started her degree at SLU-Madrid and graduated with a B.S. in Computer Science from Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology in St. Louis. She started her professional career at Indra in Configuration Management in the Simulation Department and went on to a management role at Bombardier in the railway industry. She now serves as a Passenger Information System Engineer at Talgo, helping railway operators provide service in 44 countries across four continents.
Pérez-Piqueras was instrumental in starting the SLU-Madrid Alumni Association and has taken an active role in planning, marketing and participating in events from the start. She has also served as the president and co-president of the SLU-Madrid Alumni Committee since 2004.
Lifetime Achievement Award
The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes alumni who graduated prior to 2000 for outstanding achievements in their professional lives, personal integrity and stature, and service to the University.
Íñigo Quijigo-López, who earned both his undergraduate degree in business as well as his MBA from SLU-Madrid and SLU-St. Louis, has been working at Mastercard for the last 22 years. He currently serves as senior vice president and regional lead for Mastercard Operations & Technology for Latin America and the Caribbean. As a part of the Latin American executive leadership team, Quijigo-López works across business and technical stakeholders to build, run and execute regionally relevant and globally scalable technology solutions across the region.
He is also the co-executive sponsor of the PRIDE business resource group at Mastercard, in support of the LGBTQ+ community, fostering an environment of inclusiveness, diversity and collaboration.
The Faculty Award recognizes a faculty member who has contributed to the education, growth and careers of SLU-Madrid students as a person for others. Professor Laura Muro, Ph.D., from the Department of Business and Economics was the 2021 Faculty Award honoree.
In the words of one of the students who nominated Muro for the award: “Laura Muro is not only an incredible professor but also a wonderful person. She sees the skills and qualities in students that the students do not see in themselves. Then, she motivates them to strengthen those skills and make use of them. Laura understands what it means to learn.”
Distinguished Collaborator Award
New this year, the Distinguished Collaborator Award recognizes companies and organizations committed to the development and success of our graduates in their professional careers. The first recipient of this award was Iván López (Class of ’95), who works in the Global IFRS and Offering Services division of Deloitte.
López is a graduate of Saint Louis University, having attended both campuses and obtaining an undergraduate degree in business and an MBA. As a son of Saint Louis University for life, he greatly values his liberal arts education, as well as the drive and innovation young graduates bring to the company. He has taken on numerous SLU-Madrid students and graduates, giving them opportunities to intern and to start their careers in one of the world’s foremost consulting firms.
Patrice Burns, who coordinated the event, commented, “I was truly humbled by the honorees’ acceptance speeches. It was wonderful to hear in their own words how they are living the mission and how they came to embrace it as students and focus on it as graduates. Each of them mentioned how important everyone on our campus was during their time here — maintenance staff, professors and support staff. It makes me proud to be part of such a caring community.”