The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) established the HACU Hall of Champions to honor those who embody the mission of the Association through exemplary efforts “To Champion Hispanic Success in Higher Education.” HACU’s first executive director, Dr. Antonio Rigual, became the Hall of Champions’ inaugural inductee on October 31, 2011, during the Association’s Silver Anniversary Gala in San Antonio, Texas.
Born in Cuba and transplanted to the U.S. at age 15, Dr. Rigual started teaching in 1971 at Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU), after earning a Ph.D. in Foreign Languages at Louisiana State University. Besides his current position as Professor of Spanish, he has served in various senior administrative roles, including provost, vice president for institutional advancement and vice president for university relations, and has also served on numerous University councils/committees.
Dr. Rigual’s passion for education and his great vision has opened the path to educational opportunities for many students. In 1986, Dr. Rigual led the efforts that resulted in the establishment of the Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities (HACU) and became its founding president during the Association’s start-up period, from 1986 to 1991. Later, he developed OLLU’s weekend colleges in San Antonio and Houston, was instrumental in the development of OLLU’s Mexican-American Studies program, and oversaw three successful University capital campaigns.
He has served on numerous national and San Antonio commissions and has received a variety of awards including being named OLLU’s first Moody Professor (1971), the Fleming Award for Exemplary Faculty Service at OLLU (2000), and San Antonio’s Ford Salute to Education Award (Education Category) in 2006. He is a member of the American Association of University Professors.
Besides a Ph.D., Rigual also holds a Master of Arts from Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of South Florida.