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NMSU kicks off Hispanic Heritage Month with HFSC's Leadership Summit

The Hispanic Faculty/Staff Caucus of New Mexico State University will present its third annual Leadership Summit Monday, Sept. 12 - just in time to kick off Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 - Oct. 15) festivities.

Juan Sepulveda, director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans, will be the keynote speaker at the third annual New Mexico State University Hispanic Faculty/Staff Caucus Leadership Summit, Monday, Sept. 12, at the Corbett Center Student Union on the NMSU campus. (Photo Courtesy of the Department of Education)

The summit, this year carrying the theme "Fomenting Change" and offering eight concurrent panels, goes from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and will take place in the Corbett Center Student Union on campus. Juan Sepulveda, director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans, will provide the keynote speech during the noon luncheon, wherein he will discuss the current status of Hispanics in higher education and the impact leadership roles can have on the lives of students.

Sepulveda was appointed to his position by the secretary of education in 2009. He is responsible for directing President Barack Obama's efforts to engage Hispanic students, parents, families, organizations and anyone working in or with the education system in communities nationwide as active participants in improving the academic achievement of Hispanics.

NMSU President Barbara Couture and Provost Wendy Wilkins also will speak.

"The Leadership Summit is intended to serve as a forum for the exchange of ideas among scholars, administrators, students and the community at large," said Christina Chavez Kelley, assistant vice president for Student Diversity and Outreach at NMSU and chair of the Hispanic Faculty/Staff Caucus committee that organized the event. "It will feature presentations on research conducted by NMSU faculty and students. By attending and participating in the summit, members of the community will have the opportunity to interact with peers and colleagues to discuss the state of education at NMSU and in New Mexico."

The summit also will serve as an exhibition of the contributions Hispanic faculty, staff, students and community leaders have made to the State of New Mexico and NMSU. The eight sessions will focus on educational access for Hispanics, policy and politics, success and leadership development. In addition to contributions from a variety of NMSU faculty and staff, the summit will feature addresses and presentations from David Candelaria, vice president and general manager for Entravision Communications in El Paso; Patricia Lopez, Victor Saenz and Angela Valenzuela, all from the University of Texas at Austin; Fernando Valle from Texas Tech; and Joseph Villescas, founder and owner of Villescas Research, Media & Instruction of El Paso.

Valenzuela, a professor in both the Cultural Studies in Education and Educational Policy and Planning programs at UT, as well as director of the University of Texas Center for Education Policy, will provide the keynote for the summit's opening ceremony.

"By hosting the summit, the Hispanic Faculty/Staff Caucus hopes to help lay a foundation to help prepare a new generation of leaders to meet 21st century challenges," said Spencer Herrera, president of the caucus and an assistant professor of Spanish at NMSU.

This year's event is open to 200 registrants - more than twice the size of the original summit in 2009. Guests must register to attend and may do so by going to the Leadership Summit website, sites.google.com/site/hfscsummit/, or calling Chicano Programs at 575-646-4206. The website also offers a guest program, parking information and participant biographies.

This event is sponsored by an IDEA Grant through NMSU's Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost; the College of Arts and Sciences; the College of Education; the College of Engineering; and NMSU's Dona Ana Community College. Other sponsors include the Department of Chemistry; the Office of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management; the Department of Student Engagement and Outreach; the caucus, Chavez Kelley and Marc Legarreta.