CSU Fresno -- October 17, 2003

Fresno State Dean Awarded HACU Leadership Fellowship

Dr. Benjamin Cuellar, dean of the College of Health and Human Services at California State University, Fresno, has been awarded a prestigious leadership fellowship by the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities that is aimed at preparing more Hispanics to be senior administrators in higher education.

Honored in recognition of his position and work in the education field, Cuellar will travel to HACU's national conference in Anaheim this weekend where he will participate in a panel with five other HACU fellows.

HACU offers the fellowship to honor Hispanic researchers, executives and educators representing a wide range of expertise from higher education institutions in California, Florida, Illinois, New Mexico and Texas, said Antonio R. Flores, HACU president.

"The purpose of the fellowship is to directly address the need to end the continuing under-representation of minority senior-level administrators at colleges and universities," Flores said.

HACU is one of three institutions that are a part of the Kellogg Minority Serving Institution Leadership Fellow Program, funded through the Alliance for Equity in Higher Education.

Dr. John D. Welty, Fresno State President, said the honor demonstrates both Cuellar's accomplishments as well as that of the university in serving the Hispanic community. "Fresno state is recognized nationally for preparing Hispanic leaders in higher education, " said Welty. "Dr Cuellar's selection is another example of our national leadership in this area."

On Oct. 18, Cuellar's panel of leadership fellows will participate in discussions about emerging issues in Latino leadership during HACU's 17th Annual Conference, "Hispanic Higher Education Success: America's Path to the Future," Oct. 18-21 at the Hyatt Regency Orange County in Anaheim.

The event is one in a series of yearlong activities for the Kellogg MSI Leadership Fellows Program, which will prepare him and the other fellowship awardees for the challenges of becoming the next generation of presidents and senior level leaders at minority serving colleges.

"The program will include extensive training and preparation for the fellows as they attempt to enter the executive sector of higher education," Cuellar said.

Cuellar's first major activity with the fellowship program was held Aug. 2 to Aug. 9 in Washington D.C.

"I got a chance to hear from experts and leaders in higher education, particularly those at the presidential level," Cuellar said about his experiences at the weeklong event. "I heard their perspectives on leadership issues and strategies for the current and emerging leaders of the minority serving colleges in the United States."

Dr. Jeronima Echeverria, Fresno State provost and vice president of academic affairs ad interim, said Cuellar's participation in this program is especially significant for the increasingly diverse college-going students in the San Joaquin Valley as well as for students at Fresno State.

"Dean Cuellar is already a proven leader in health and human services programs and has played a significant role in providing leadership for the next generation of minority higher education leaders in our region," Echeverria said.

Cuellar, 61, who was born in California a year after his parents migrated to America from Mexico, joined Fresno State in 1978.

He has a doctoral degree in social work from Columbia University, New York and a master's in the same field from University of California, Berkeley. He earned his bachelors degree from San Jose State in 1970. He and his wife, Julia, raised five children - four have earned college degrees.

The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) was established in 1986 and is the only national educational association that represents Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs). An HSI is a non-profit, accredited, college or university where total Hispanic enrollment constitutes a minimum of 25 percent of the total enrollment.

HACU represents more than 300 colleges and universities committed to Hispanic higher education success in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Latin America and Spain. Although its member institutions in the U. S. represent less than 7 percent of all higher education institutions nationwide, together those HSIs are home to more than two-thirds of all Hispanic college students.

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