Verizon International Foundation Awards Scholarships to Ten Students at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Verizon International Foundation has awarded scholarships to 10 computer engineering students at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez (UPRM). The students were honored at a luncheon ceremony today at the Ritz Carlton Hotel.

Recipients will receive a $5,000 grant for the 2001-2002 academic year. The scholarships will be renewable each year of the university's five-year undergraduate program in computer engineering. When combined with federal grants, the scholarships will pay for the full cost of the students' annual tuition, room and board, transportation and textbooks.

"Verizon is committed to fostering education programs in the communities it serves," said Fares Salloum, president-international, the Americas for Verizon.

"In addition to providing financial support, the Verizon International Foundation scholarship program will offer students an opportunity to contribute to the future economic and technological growth of Puerto Rico. I congratulate these 10 students for their outstanding academic achievements," Salloum said.

The scholarship recipients are Wilmari Benitez Haddock of Caguas, Gabriel Burgos Castellanos of Ciales, Jaime Di Cristina Moreno of Rio Grande, José D. Gomez Santiago of Aguirre, Jomayra Marrero Guevara of Toa Alta, Mairim Ramos Lebrón of Cabo Rojo, Yomary Rodríguez Rivera of Adjuntas, Juan Díaz Santana of Yabucoa, Roberto Santos Marrero of San Juan and Agnes Vélez Pagán of Ciales.

Jon E. Slater, president and CEO of Puerto Rico Telephone, a Verizon affiliate, said,

"We at Puerto Rico Telephone are extremely pleased to be part of this endeavor. By helping these outstanding students achieve their full academic potential, we are not only honoring our commitment to foster education on the island, but are ensuring that Puerto Rico will have a pool of trained professionals who will maintain our telecommunications industry on the leading edge in the region."

Pablo Rodríguez, acting chancellor of UPRM, said, "The Verizon International Foundation scholarship program will be instrumental in preparing the best qualified professionals to serve Puerto Rico. UPRM is grateful for the support Verizon has extended to our students and the computer engineering program."

The foundation's scholarship program, announced earlier this year, will provide 50 scholarships totaling $1.25 million over five years. The program was established to support the development of technical professionals in Puerto Rico.

Verizon International Foundation has similar scholarship programs in Asia, Europe, Mexico and plans to expand the program to other countries in Latin America.

To qualify for the Verizon International Foundation scholarship program, an applicant must have a 3.0 grade point average or better, demonstrate financial need, be enrolled in the university's five-year computer engineering degree program, and be a native of Puerto Rico or have completed high school in Puerto Rico.

Verizon owns 40 percent of Puerto Rico Telephone, which is the largest provider of telecommunications services in Puerto Rico.

Verizon International Foundation supports a variety of educational and economic initiatives that focus on literacy, workforce and community technology development. The foundation is committed to improving the quality of life of the global communities and customers served by Verizon and its international affiliates. The foundation works closely with Verizon's affiliates and a variety of advisory groups and other organizations to identify local needs and to develop and nurture programs that address those needs.

Verizon Communications

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 128.5 million access line equivalents and 28.7 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. A Fortune 10 company with 256,000 employees and approximately $65 billion in annual revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to more than 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.