UA Hispanic Alumni Association to honor city manager for years of service
The UA Hispanic Alumni Association will honor City Manager Richard Miranda at a fundraising dinner Friday.
The 29th annual Portraits of Excellence Scholarship Dinner is intended to raise money for the UA Hispanic Alumni Scholarship Program while honoring the city manager and former chief of police of the Tucson Police Department for his years of service to the Tucson community.
“He is Tucson,” said Marc Acuna, assistant director of Multicultural Clubs and the UA Alumni Association Scholarship Program. “He’s just a genuine, compassionate individual that cares about his city.”
Born and raised in South Tucson, Miranda graduated from Sunnyside High School, before attending the UA, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in public management. He also has a master’s degree in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University.
Mark Armao/The Daily Wildcat City Manager Richard Miranda will be honored at a banquet dinner on Friday.
Shortly after college, Miranda began his career with the Tucson Police Department. He was named chief of police in 1998.
“I think growing up in that organization — in the police department — you really get a sense of community and have a front row seat to all the issues in our community that are providing stress to our citizens,” Miranda said.
After 10 years as police chief, he moved to the city manager’s office.
“I don’t think the city could find anybody better,” said Anthony Daykin, police chief of the University of Arizona Police Department, who met Miranda when the two started working as TPD officers in the 1970s. “He’s 110 percent committed to the city of Tucson, to its future and its history … so I think the city is in great hands.”
Although Miranda is modest about his achievements as the city manager, he said one of his proudest accomplishments is bringing UA baseball back to Hi Corbett Field with the help of UA Athletics Director Greg Byrne.
“Tucson is a baseball town,” he said. “So, combining [UA baseball] and that Hi Corbett environment is something I’m really, really proud of.”
The impending completion of the Tucson Modern Streetcar project will be another achievement in which, Miranda said, he will take great pride.
“There is a team of people who have worked for almost a decade to get that project to its completion,” he said, “and now we’re at the point of getting to the finish line and cutting the ribbon on that project.”
With respect to Friday’s banquet, Miranda said it’s a “great privilege” to be recognized for his service.
“Initially … I was very taken aback and humbled because I know there are many Hispanic graduates from the University of Arizona who have gone on and done great things in our world,” he said.
The proceeds from the dinner, held at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort and Spa, will go toward the UAHA Scholarship Program, which awards between $350,000 and $400,000 in scholarships annually, according to Acuna.
Since being founded in 1982, the club has awarded more than 2,500 scholarships worth more than $5 million, said Ricky Hernandez, president of the UA Hispanic Alumni club.
Although he is honored to be recognized at the event, Miranda said he sees the scholarship dinner as “another opportunity to help out.”
While Miranda habitually defers praise, he said he does take pride in helping his community.
“There are little things that I see that kind of put a smile on my face,” he said, “[such as] driving by a park where there used to be crime problems — and now, seeing kids on the swings and people shooting baskets … It makes me feel good.”
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