EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – El Paso attorney Steve Ortega donated $50,000 to the Foster School of Medicine and Hunt School of Dental Medicine on a gift the University said it will match to benefit local students of dentistry and medicine.

“Finances shouldn’t be a barrier to education,” Ortega said. He added: “My grandmothers were constrained by finances and gender, which limited their career choices. Today, women represent the next generation of health care professionals for our community. TTUHSC El Paso represents the resurgence of our city as well as the new face of health care. Even though I’m not a graduate of Texas Tech, I’m proud of this institution.”

The total amount, $100,000, will benefit women pursuing medical and dental degrees. In honor of Ortega’s grandmothers, the scholarships have been named Aurora Red Medical Scholarship, and the Maria Olivina Ortega Dental Scholarship. “We’re grateful to Steve Ortega for his gift, which will have a transformative impact on the lives of our students,” said Richard Lange, M.D., M.B.A, president of TTUHSC El Paso and dean of the Foster School of Medicine. “His generosity will help us as we ‘grow our own’ and the legacies of his grandmothers will live on in scholarship recipients, setting an example and empowering other young women in our community who will follow in their footsteps,” he added.

A fifth-generation El Pasoan, Ortega graduated from Cathedral High School and attended the University of Texas at Austin, where he received bachelor’s degrees in government and sociology. After obtaining his law degree from the George Washington University Law Center, he returned to the Sun City where he served the community on the El Paso City Council from 2005 to 2013.