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UVU’s Latino Initiative receives White House honor

16 September 2015 No Comment

For Immediate Release

University Marketing & Communications: Melinda Colton | 801-863-6807 | melindac@uvu.edu

The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics has honored Utah Valley University with inclusion in its “Bright Spots in Hispanic Education National Online Catalog.” More than 230 Bright Spots will be featured in the catalog; each Bright Spot is helping ensure the educational attainment for the country’s Hispanic community, from cradle to career.

The announcement was made Sept. 15 at the launch of Hispanic Heritage Month and in honor of the Initiative’s 25th anniversary. Yudi Lewis is director of UVU’s Latino Initiative, which was established in 2007.

“This award is yet another recognition of the great things UVU is doing for our growing and diverse Latino communities,” said Kyle Reyes, special assistant to the president for inclusion. “While this is an institutional award, we have to acknowledge the tremendous leadership and passion of our Latino Initiative director, Yudi Lewis. Her work has been transformational for thousands of Latino students, families and community members.”

UVU is the largest provider of higher education for Latino students of all four-year institutions in Utah. The University has received numerous honors for its Latino initiative including being one of only six institutions in the nation to earn the Examples of Excelencia distinction for improving Latino student success. UVU has more than doubled its Latino graduates in the past five years and tripled its Latino enrollment. Latinos represent 10 percent of the student body at UVU.

“It is an honor to be selected and to represent the state of Utah on such an important matter,” said Lewis. “This recognition speaks to the commitment that UVU has with the Latino community and its efforts to provide educational access and degree completion of such an important growing Utah demographic. In addition, this honor highlights the level of engagement that UVU has with students and their parents and the strong partnerships that UVU has established within and outside our campus community.”

As part of its Latino Initiative, UVU provides community events and presentations in churches, nonprofit organizations and schools to make people aware about the process of admission. It helps students determine what classes to take while they are still in high school, how to prepare the essays they need to write for their applications and how to find scholarships and financial aid.

“There has been notable progress in Hispanic educational achievement, and it is due to the efforts of these Bright Spots in Hispanic Education, programs and organizations working throughout the country to help Hispanic students reach their full potential,” said Alejandra Ceja, executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.

Today nearly one in four students in the nation’s public schools is a Hispanic youth. Making sure these young people have the opportunity to achieve their dreams isn’t just the right thing to do — it’s also a matter of our shared success as a country, said Ceja. In just the next few decades, Hispanics will represent nearly one in three American workers.

To view UVU’s entry in the Bright Spots catalog, visit www.ed.gov/HispanicInitiative.

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