Imagine America Foundation Honors James Ramirez with a 2008 LDRSHIP Award

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Washington, DC (Sept 26, 2008) – The Imagine America Foundation is pleased to announce that the LDRSHIP Award for 2008 was awarded to James Ramirez for his outstanding achievements as both a student of Marine Mechanics Institute and as a soldier in the U.S. Army.

Ramirez learned early on, while serving in the Army, that failure is not an option. Only through hard work and dedication, can goals be achieved. Serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom campaigns were some of his proudest moments while in the Army.

“While I was in the Army,” says Ramirez, “I always strived to get to the next level and be the best I could be. I am very excited and amazed to be receiving this award. I don’t even know how to put it into words. It is an honor to be given this award.”

Now extending his diligence and dedication to preparing for his next career, Ramirez is leading by example in the classroom at Marine Mechanics Institute, where he has made the honor roll twice, maintained a 4.0 GPA and a perfect attendance record.

“Students like James Ramirez set an excellent example at Marine Mechanics Institute,” said Dianne Ely, president of the UTI campus in Orlando, where Ramirez is enrolled. “We are very proud of his work ethic and commitment to quality, on and off campus.”

On Tuesday, September 23, 2008, while in Washington, DC, Ramirez was honored with the Imagine America Foundation’s LDRSHIP Award.

The LDRSHIP Award was established to recognize outstanding career college students who have served their country honorably through military duty. The award is given annually to men and women nationwide who exemplify: Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage.

The awards ceremony took place in a prestigious IAF sponsored event on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, co-hosted by and in cooperation with the Career College Association. Ramirez, along with five other outstanding individuals, was presented with a $5,000 cash grant to be used towards completing their career educations.

“It’s a privilege to honor the 2008 LDRSHIP recipients with this award,” said Robert L. Martin, Imagine America Foundation president. “For their admirable and courageous service to our country, we extend deepest appreciation. It’s now our turn to give something back to them.”

No stranger to recognition, Ramirez has also received numerous military honors including three Air Medals, two Air Force Aerial Achievement Medals, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and the Iraq Campaign Medal. Through his hard work and determination, Ramirez will surely accomplish all he sets out to achieve.

About Marine Mechanics Institute

Located in Orlando, Fla., Marine Mechanics Institute is a division of Phoenix, Ariz.-based Universal Technical Institute, Inc. (UTI), a nationwide provider of technical education training for students seeking careers as professional automotive, diesel, collision repair, motorcycle and marine technicians. Established in 1991, MMI offers comprehensive training programs that teach students to diagnose, service and repair marine and watercraft in just over a year. UTI also offers specialized technical education programs at nine other campuses across the country through several well-known brands -- Universal Technical Institute (UTI), Motorcycle Mechanics Institute (MMI) and NASCAR Technical Institute (NASCAR Tech). For more information, visit

Contact: Robert L. Martin, Imagine America Foundation President
Phone: (202) 336-6758

About the Imagine America Foundation

The Imagine America Foundation (IAF), established in 1982, is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing scholarship, research and training support for the career college sector. Since its inception, the Foundation has provided over $35 million in scholarship and award support for graduating high school seniors, adult learners and U.S. military veterans attending career colleges nationwide through its award-winning Imagine America® programs. The Foundation also publishes vital research publications for the higher education sector, honors achievement in career education and supports faculty/staff training. For more information about the Imagine America Foundation’s scholarship and award programs, please visit