July 7, 2022

HACU statement on Presidential Medal of Freedom award to Raúl Yzaguirre

SAN ANTONIO – The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities is delighted to applaud the presentation of the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Raúl Humberto Yzaguirre, who served as the CEO and president of the National Council of La Raza, transforming the organization from a regional advocacy group to one of the most important national voices for Hispanic communities in the U.S.

This recognition is only the latest recognition for a lifetime of achievements. He received the Rockefeller Public Service Award from Princeton University, the Hubert H. Humphrey Civil Rights Award from the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, and the Charles Evan Hughes Gold Medal Award for courageous leadership by the National Conference for Community and Justice. He was one of the first Hispanic fellows of the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and is a lifetime member of that school’s Council on Foreign Relations. He served as U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic from 2010 to 2013 under President Barak Obama. The Raul Yzaguirre Policy Institute, established at The University of Texas - Pan American, preserves his legacy.

“Raul, born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley, is a true leader of the Hispanic community, with a record that is extraordinary in its breadth and depth,” said HACU President and CEO Antonio R. Flores. “His expansion of the membership criteria for the National Council of La Raza to not only ethnic Mexicans but Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Argentines, Cubans, Venezuelans, and other Hispanic groups paved the way for NCLR, now known as UnidosUS, to open offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Sacramento, San Antonio, and San Juan. This meant a cohesion and focus for Hispanic civil rights that had not been realized up to then. We owe him a debt of gratitude that is personified in the award given today.”

About HACU
The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, founded in 1986, represents more than 500 colleges and universities in the United States, D.C, Puerto Rico, Latin America, Spain, and school districts throughout the U.S. HACU is the only national association representing existing and emerging Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs). The Association’s headquarters are in San Antonio, Texas, with regional offices in Washington, D.C. and Sacramento, California.


HACU Media Contact:
Norma Jean Revilla-Garcia
Executive Director of Communications and Marketing
Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities