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Member Advisory--November 9, 2005


HACU applauds Representatives Bonilla and Baca at special reception on November 8, 2005


On November 8, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), in collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture Hispanic Serving Institutions Leadership Group, hosted a special reception in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C., in honor of Congressman Henry Bonilla, Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee for Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies, and Congressman Joe Baca, ranking member of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, Dairy, Nutrition and Forestry.   Representative Grace Napolitano, Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, also attended the reception.


Both Congressmen are responsible for the inclusion of an additional FY 2006 appropriation of $885 thousand in Title VIII of the Farm Bill, increasing the funding level of the HSI agriculture grants program from $5.6 million for FY 2005 to $6.5 million for FY 2006.  The Title VIII appropriation funds the only HSI specific competitive grants program within the U.S. Department of Agriculture and targets infrastructure and capacity building of HSIs in research, outreach and teaching areas related to agriculture, food safety, nutrition and also attracting, retaining and graduating a workforce capable of enhancing the nation’s food and agriculture, scientific and professional work force.


The reception was a joint effort by HACU and the USDA leadership group to publicly thank both Congressmen for their ongoing efforts to increase federal support for the more than 240 HSIs which enroll 50% of all Hispanic students in the nation that attend a college or university.  The HACU/USDA leadership group is composed of 5 senior officers from USDA and 5 HSI presidents, Dr. Rumaldo Juarez, President of Texas A & M, Kingsville; Dr. Maria Sheehan, President of College of the Desert, California; Dr. Michael Martin, President of New Mexico State University; and Lic. Manuel Fernos, President of the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico System.


Dr. Juarez, Co-Chair of the Leadership Group, and Dr. Jose Vicente, President of Miami Dade College, North Campus, and past co-chair of the Leadership Group, spoke on behalf of HACU and the Leadership Group and presented Congressmen Bonilla and Baca with special Plaques of Recognition for their commitment to educational achievement and success of Hispanics in post secondary education and to the mission of the USDA.  Attending the reception were representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the HACU Alumni Association, national education advocacy groups, HACU interns, and staff from various congressional offices.


HACU Member Advisories are a service of the
Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities.