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For Immediate Release
March 31, 2010

HACU Media Contact:
Norma Jean Revilla-Garcia 
210.576.3206 

HACU urges Congress to recognize famed educator Jaime Escalante

San Antonio, TX- The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) is urging Congress to honor famed educator Jaime Escalante, whose teaching methods motivated inner-city high school students in Los Angeles to master advanced math and inspired the film “Stand and Deliver,” by naming a program funded by the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA) in his memory. Escalante passed away on Mar. 30, 2010, from cancer. 

“HACU is saddened at the loss of a man who was not only an educator, but also a fellow champion of Hispanic success in education,” HACU President and CEO Dr. Antonio R. Flores said. “Our nation has lost a pioneering advocate of Hispanic higher education success, particularly mathematics and related STEM fields.” 

In a letter to congressional leaders dated March 31, Flores stated, “The death of Mr. Escalante reminds us of how far the nation has come since the 1980s…. [It] also reminds us of how much farther we have to go to assure that minority students reach their full potential.”  Mr. Escalante’s work confirmed that Hispanics and other minority students could indeed excel, given the right tools, Flores noted.

Just hours before Mr. Escalante’s passing, President Barack Obama signed SAFRA into law, to continue furthering the success of minority students. With SAFRA, $100 million will become available annually in federal grants for Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) to improve science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and to develop articulation agreements between two- and four-year institutions.

“It is my hope that Congress will honor Jaime Escalante by naming the STEM program for HSIs funded by SAFRA as the ’Jaime Escalante STEM Program,’” said Flores.

Escalante was a graduate of HACU-member HSI California State University, Los Angeles. He previously earned an associate’s degree from a two-year institution and studied in his native Bolivia.

About HACU
The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) was established in 1986 with a founding membership of 18 institutions. Today, HACU represents approximately 450 colleges and universities committed to Hispanic higher education success in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Latin America, Spain and Portugal. HACU is the only national association representing existing and emerging Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs). HACU will celebrate its 25th Anniversary when it hosts its annual conference in San Antonio, Texas, October 29-31, 2011. More information is available at www.hacu.net.