San José, Calif.—May 31, 2012— The National Hispanic University held its 27th commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 19, at the San José campus and celebrated the accomplishments of 96 students who earned their bachelor's degrees, teacher education credentials and certificates. Deborah A. Santiago, co-founder and vice president for policy and research at Excelencia in Education, a nonprofit organization advocating for Latino success in higher education, delivered the keynote address and reminded graduates that they are now part of an exclusive group in society.
"Today, only about 30% of adults in the U.S. have earned a bachelor's degree or more, and less than 15% of Latino adults have earned a bachelor's degree or more," said Ms. Santiago. "You are a person of privilege because you have a college education, and with this privilege comes responsibility—responsibility to yourself, your family, your university, your community and your world."
Ms. Santiago also praised The National Hispanic University's vision that every student at the institution will graduate. "That's a powerful vision to fulfill, and you here today are part of that vision," she said. "This spirit of invention, of becoming entrepreneurs to make sure we meet the needs we see around us, lives in all of you. You have found a way and prepared yourself for a robust but unknown future. You have the tools, training and education you need to succeed and be the entrepreneurs of tomorrow—be the change you want to see."
At commencement, the Bachelor of Arts in Child Development was awarded for the first time to 12 campus-based National Hispanic University graduates. The university was recently approved to offer its Bachelor of Arts in Child Development program online.
In addition, several graduates and faculty and staff members were recognized:
- Viet Anh Nguyen, Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration, received the Sí Se Puede Award for demonstrating exemplary student achievement despite adversity.
- Anarita Compio Reyes, Bachelor of Arts in Child Development, received the Sí Se Puede Award for demonstrating exemplary student achievement despite adversity.
- David Doyon, Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies, received the President's Award, an award bestowed upon a graduate who has served as a student leader and demonstrated a pioneering spirit, leaving a tangible, lasting legacy as a result of his or her student involvement.
- Alejandro Heredia, Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems, received the La Familia Award, which was created in honor of The National Hispanic University's 30th anniversary and recognizes a graduate's family members for their sacrifices and instilling the importance of education.
- Cynthia Wambsgans, interim program director, Mathematics and Sciences Department, received the Faculty of the Year Award for instilling a desire for lifelong learning in her students, using innovative teaching practices and serving as a role model.
- Adriana Diaz, professor of liberal studies, received the Contributing Faculty of the Year Award for ensuring students receive the highest quality learning experience.
- Hilda Peralta, a library support staff member, received the Staff Star Award for demonstrating outstanding service, teamwork, attitude and reliability.
The National Hispanic University was founded in 1981 by the late Dr. B. Roberto Cruz, who dedicated his life to making educational opportunities available to Hispanics and members of other underrepresented groups. Grounded in cultural respect, the university fosters a learning environment that reflects the rich heritage and diversity of the Hispanic community.
For additional information about The National Hispanic University, visit www.NHU.edu.
About The National Hispanic University
For 30 years, The National Hispanic University (NHU) has provided Hispanic students and others with access to quality higher education. NHU offers a diverse portfolio of undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs in business, teacher education, child development and computer science, delivered in a multicultural, collaborative and supportive learning environment. NHU is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). The campus is located in San José, Calif. For more information, visit www.NHU.edu.