February 26, 2021
For the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, 2021 marks a milestone of its founding in 1986 in San Antonio, Texas. In the past 35 years, HACU has grown from 18 charter members to more than 500 member institutions committed to the mission of championing Hispanic success in higher education. Impressively, for the past 25 years, HACU has had the leadership of Antonio R. Flores at the helm.
In 1995, when HACU was searching for its third president and CEO, Flores says he was drawn to the Association because it was positioned to make a huge impact on Hispanic higher education nationwide and for its membership. Since joining HACU on February 26, 1996, Flores has worked non-stop on developing and advancing policy and legislation that support Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) and Hispanic students across the nation.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the Association, just like many others, quickly transitioned its operations and strengthened its advocacy efforts to ensure that HSIs continue to have a strong voice, especially during a moment in time when institutions need federal support and programs for students to thrive in a new environment. Last year, for the first time, HACU held its Capitol Forum on Hispanic higher education and its 34th Annual Conference virtually. Its biggest student program, the HACU National Internship Program, also worked with its partners to continue to offer college students internship opportunities - but this time in a virtual format.
During his tenure at HACU, Flores has helped the Association increase annual federal funding for HSIs and more than $4 billion has been allocated to them over the years; several new federally funded programs have been created under the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Department of Education, among others.
Additionally, the association nearly tripled its membership, expanded its representation internationally, and implemented and improved programs and partnerships to offer a variety of internship and scholarship opportunities. The HACU National Internship Program has made over 13,000 internship placements since its inception. One of its most recent programs launched in 2019 was the HACU Leadership Academy/La Academia de Liderazgo, a fellowship program designed to prepare the next generation of culturally diverse leaders for executive and senior level positions in higher education.
“Tremendous progress has been made through the years to serve Hispanics in higher education, but as more Hispanic-Serving Institutions emerge, so too does the need to advocate for improved funding support for HSIs,” says Flores.
HACU thanks everyone for their support throughout the years and salutes Antonio R. Flores for his 25 years of service.
HACU President and CEO Antonio R. Flores (center) with HACU staff and
graduates of the first cohort of the HACU Leadership Academia/La Academia de