We are pleased to join President Obama in recognizing National Hispanic-Serving Institutions Week. The President issued a proclamation Sept. 9 designating this week to honor our nation’s Hispanic-serving colleges and universities, including Pima Community College.
The President said Hispanic-serving institutions “have given more Hispanics access to the resources and opportunities they need to compete in our economy. More than half of America’s Hispanic undergraduates attend HSIs, which have played a critical role in increasing access to a college education and have worked to bolster enrollment, retention and graduation rates.”
The proclamation was timely for PCC. Just last week I had the honor of accepting The Edith Sayre Auslander Outstanding Support of Hispanic Issues in Higher Education Award from The Victoria Foundation on behalf of PCC. The Foundation was created to honor Hispanics in higher education as well as those working hard to support Hispanic higher education.
PCC was recognized for renewing its commitment to open access and student success for all students. Forty-two percent of all PCC students are Hispanic/Latino, many first-generation college students.
Also, exciting, Hispanic/Latino students earning both certificate and associate degrees is up by more than 16 percent from just last year.
In 1992, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) led the effort to convince Congress to formally recognize campuses with high Hispanic enrollment as federally designated HSIs. To be recognized, colleges must be not-for-profit with a full-time equivalent undergraduate student enrollment that is at least 25 percent Hispanic. National Hispanic-Serving Institutions Week is part of awareness and celebration efforts.