By Peter McPherson, APLU President
This month we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and the extraordinary contributions Hispanic/Latinx students, faculty, and staff make to the nation’s public universities and the country at large. They play an integral role on campuses across the country, exemplifying scholarly excellence and enriching the learning environment for all.
Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) are particularly important in providing a community of excellence for Hispanic students and APLU is proud to have 31 member institutions that are HSIs. Collectively, these 33 institutions educate nearly a fifth of all Hispanic students at four-year institutions. And they award an even larger share of degrees, accounting for nearly a quarter of all bachelor’s degrees given to Hispanic students at four-year institutions nationally.
Hispanic scholars also hold an important role in leading universities. Fresno State University President Joseph Castro was recently named chancellor of the California State University System and will become the first person of color to hold that role when he assumes the position early next year. And at the University of Central Florida students Sabrina La Rosa and Stephanie Blanco became the first all-female and all-Latina ticket to win the student government vice president and president leadership positions earlier this year.
Hispanic students in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program also make critically important contributions to public university campuses. Enrollees in the program are Rhodes Scholars, scientists, and campus leaders. These Dreamers deserve legal protection. APLU has called on Congress to take immediate action to codify protections for Dreamers into law, including work authorization and a path to citizenship.
APLU is very pleased to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and the extraordinary contributions Hispanic students, scholars, and staff make to our campuses and communities. And as we celebrate their achievements, the public university community is also committed to increasing access and success for Hispanic students and increasing the number of Hispanic university leaders, faculty, and staff.
Be on the lookout for information in the coming days about a virtual event next week featuring three Hispanic presidents from APLU institutions.