The Hispanic Bar Association of Orange County has named Dr. Isaac Cardenas, chair and professor of Chicano studies at Cal State Fullerton, "Educator of the Year."
"It is thanks to educators such as Dr. Cardenas that students are able to appreciate the importance of not only receiving an education, but putting it to use with social conscience," said Claudia Alvarez, president of the Hispanic Bar Association of Orange County, a CSUF alumna and one of the professor's former students.
"For example," she added, "Dr. Cardenas' teachings have positively influenced my efforts in creating a better Santa Ana. The Hispanic Bar Association is grateful to Dr. Cardenas for his teachings, his contributions towards the advancement of our youth, and for his service to the community as a whole. Educators such as Dr. Cardenas should be celebrated more often."
"I feel greatly honored to have been selected by the Hispanic Bar Association of Orange County for the Educator of the Year Award," said Cardenas. "This award is also a reflection of the significant contribution Cal State Fullerton is making to the Latino community."
Active both on and off campus, Cardenas has served since 1989 as faculty sponsor to the annual Latino College Leadership Institute, a four-day residential leadership program for students in their first to third year of study. This program is sponsored by the National Conference for Community and Justice and the Association for Mexican American Educators. Since 1997, he has been faculty coordinator for Proyecto VECINO, a program that involves university students in community service learning to increase the literacy levels of elementary school students.
Earlier, he served as the program's faculty adviser and coordinator, promoting student involvement in the goals of increasing Chicano/Latino voter registration and voter turnout, as well as increasing the number who complete the citizenship process. Additionally, Cardenas is involved in the TELACU Summer Upward Bound Program, for 45 high school students from Garfield, Huntington Park, Roosevelt and Franklin high schools. Cardenas serves as a mentor and has taught Chicano literature and communication skills classes.
He has received numerous grants, including the most recent from Proyecto VECINO. Since 1989, Cardenas has received substantial amounts of funding from the San Diego County Office of Education for "Project Basic Educational Skills for Tomorrow," a summer college preparatory residential program at CSUF for children of migrant farm workers.
During his tenure at the university, Cardenas has received numerous accolades, including the 1999 "Recognition Award" from the Hispanic Faculty and Staff Association, for his contributions to Chicano/Latino students and his leadership as president of the organization; 1999 "Faculty Advisor Award" from the Independent Latino Student Association; the 1990 "Outstanding Educator From Orange County Award" from the Association of Mexican American Educators; and the 1989 "Outstanding Hispanic Educator Award" from the League of United Latin American Citizens.
"Dr. Cardenas has been an outstanding campus leader for decades," said Dr. Thomas P. Klammer, acting dean of CSUF's College of Humanities and Social Sciences. "His impact as chair of the Chicano studies department and his very effective work linking the university with the Latino community have earned him this well-deserved recognition. Not only has he served as a mentor and role-model for hundreds, perhaps thousands of Latino and non-Latino university students, he has personally fostered outreach programs that have resulted in large numbers of students seeking and obtaining a college education, when, without his influence, their destiny might very well have been to drop out before graduating from high school."
Cardenas has been a Fullerton faculty member since 1974 and earned his doctorate at the University of Massachusetts. He is a resident of Rowland Heights.
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