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For Immediate Release
December 9, 2014

Statement from HACU President and CEO on the passing of HACU's founder Antonio Rigual

SAN ANTONIO, TX -- The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities’ (HACU) President and CEO Antonio R. Flores has issued the following statement on the passing of Antonio Rigual, Ph.D., the founder and first executive director of HACU. Dr. Rigual passed away today, December 9, 2014.

“We at HACU express our sympathy and prayers to Dr. Rigual's family and friends. His vision and leadership as HACU’s founder virtually created the concept of Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) and has vastly expanded educational and career opportunities for the millions of Hispanic students they serve,” said HACU President and CEO Antonio R. Flores. “His heartfelt commitment to HACU’s mission and his dedication to HSIs has transformed the educational landscape of our nation.”

Rigual was born in Cuba and emigrated to the U.S. at the age of 15. Rigual earned a bachelor's from the University ofSouth Florida and a master's and Ph.D. from Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge. In 1971 he began teaching at Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU), a founding HACU-member institution.

In 1986, Dr. Rigual led the efforts that resulted in the establishment of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) and became its founding executive director (later president) during the Association’s start-up period, from 1986 to 1991, growing its membership from the 18 founding members to 75 when he stepped down. He was recognized by HACU in 2011 as the inaugural member of the HACU Hall of Champions in recognition of his contributions to Hispanic higher education.

At Our Lady of the Lake University, Rigual was a professor of Spanish and served in various senior administrative roles, including provost, vice president for institutional advancement and vice president for university relations, as well as on numerous university councils and committees. 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 served on numerous national and San Antonio commissions and received a variety of awards including 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.

Photo: Antonio Rigual, HACU founder, Courtesy of Our Lady of the Lake University

About HACU
The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) represents approximately 450 colleges and universities committed to Hispanic higher education success in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Latin America and Spain.