ACE announced today that Mildred García, president of California State University, Fullerton, (CSUF) will receive the 2017 Reginald Wilson Diversity Leadership Award.
The award is named in honor of Reginald Wilson, senior scholar emeritus at ACE and founding director of the Council's Office of Minority Concerns (now part of ACE Leadership), and is presented annually to an individual who has made outstanding contributions and demonstrated sustained commitment to diversity in higher education.
The award will be presented during the closing plenary of ACE2017, ACE's 99th Annual Meeting, on March 14 in Washington, DC.
"Mildred García is a leader who fully embodies the essence of this award with passion, integrity and commitment to ensuring inclusion for all students on a national and local level," said ACE President Molly Corbett Broad. "Her ability to work across boundaries and within diverse communities demonstrates the kind of leadership necessary in the 21st century. I am pleased to add her name to the list of Wilson Award winners who have honored Reginald Wilson's legacy."
As the president of CSUF, a Hispanic-Serving Institution, García, herself a first-generation college student, has been an outspoken advocate for increasing diversity and inclusion at all levels of the university and surrounding community.
García established a Student Success Center in each of the university’s eight colleges, designed to provide adequate support and advising services to increase graduation rates, reduce the time to earn a degree and narrow the achievement gap for underrepresented students. Through these and other efforts, CSUF’s graduation rate for first-time freshmen rose to 63 percent in 2016—the highest in the university’s history. CSUF also eliminated the achievement gap for transfer students.
She has specifically worked to cultivate and nurture academic talent, including developing diverse teams of people throughout her career as a higher education leader, creating a highly diverse university leadership cabinet and recruiting the most diverse class of incoming faculty members in the university’s history.
While she has played an outstanding role as a Latina in higher education and within the community, she has also displayed an extraordinary willingness to stand for and speak out for many underserved groups in the context of postsecondary education specifically and broader societal issues. García created the Titan Dreamers Resource Center, which provides undocumented students with academic and emotional support, referrals to financial assistance, information on programs and services designed to improve retention and graduation rates, and a comforting environment where students can connect with one another.
She also has made significant contributions to the research and scholarly community and was recognized by the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) for her work in transforming that academic community and making it more inclusive. An annual research award is given by ASHE in her name.
Left to right; ACE President Molly Corbett Broad; Mildred García; Reginald Wilson; Lynn Gangone, vice president, ACE Leadership.
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