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  DENVER, Colorado – The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) today honored U.S. Rep. Robert Menendez, D-New Jersey, for “extraordinary” leadership in his championing of the college and career success of the nation’s youngest and largest ethnic population.

“Congressman Robert Menendez is a true champion for Hispanic Americans and for all Americans in his dedication to education as the foundation for the nation’s economic strength and security. Congressman Menendez is building a better future for all of us,” HACU President and CEO Antonio Flores said.

Flores presented HACU’s Exemplary Policy/Advocacy Leadership Award to Congressman Menendez on behalf of HACU’s more than 335 member and partner colleges and universities serving the largest concentrations of Hispanic higher education students in the United States. The award was presented at HACU’s 16th Annual Conference under way in Denver, Colorado.

Menendez, a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, has successfully advocated for record new annual increases in federal spending and program support for Hispanic higher education.

First elected to Congress in 1992, Congressman Menendez became the first Hispanic ever elected to a leadership position in Congress upon his election in 1998 by his Democratic colleagues as Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus. In 1986, he became the first Hispanic mayor of Union City, New Jersey. He later became the first Hispanic to serve in the New Jersey Senate. He won his first election – a local school board race -- at age 20, while still in college.

Congressman Menendez is a member of the House International Relations Committee and House Transportation Infrastructure Committee. Menendez was awarded the 1998 Ellis Island Medal of Honor for his achievements as an advocate for human rights in the United States and abroad.

For more information, contact HACU national headquarters in San Antonio, Texas, at (210) 692-3805. Ext. 3214. Or visit