Señor Oscar Martinez & Farmingdale State College

Three sons, two daughters, spouses, six grand children--and an older brother, were all present at last night's Farmingdale College Alumni Gala at the Chateau Le Mer in support of Señor Oscar Martinez.

An elegant, close-knit and multi-lingual family based in Monterrey and Mexico City, the Martinez family was in town to witness the family patriarch--Oscar Martinez--receive Farmingdale College's 2009 Outstanding Alumnus Award.

Señor Martinez ('50) took a mechanical engineering degree, a stint at the Carrier International and leveraged it into his own Bel Air, a leading Mexican air conditioning manufacturing and service corporation. Señor Martinez retired in 1995 after selling his business to his employees.

The highlight of the evening was when his son Alejandro, speaking in flawless and slightly accented English, talked about Señor Martinez and his journey as a beloved father and successful businessman. But it was the 8 year old grand daughter who stole the show in her own loving tribute to grand papa--again, in flawless English.

While the college also recognized a professor, administrator and a local business, it was Señor Martinez' story that offers important lessons for Long Island's past as well as its future. Shamefully, anti-Mexican propaganda, racism and the ongoing nativist spasm against Latino immigrants make reduce the possibility of future Martinez/FSC-type success stories. If so, we'll be poorer for it.

Photo: Oscar Martinez points to his graduation photo.
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