Antonio R. Flores, Ph.D.
On February 26, 1996, Antonio R. Flores became the third president and chief executive officer of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU). Established in December 1986 with 18 founding members, HACU is a national organization that represents more than 450 colleges and universities that collectively serve two-thirds of the more than 3 million Hispanic students in U.S. higher education across 37 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. HACU’s international membership of leading higher education institutions is also an important HACU constituency.
The association represents Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), where Hispanics constitute 25 percent or more of the total enrollment at either the graduate or undergraduate level, or both, and Associate Member Institutions, where Hispanics comprise a minimum of 10 percent of the total enrollment or 1,000 students. HACU’s international membership began in the 1996-97 school year with three pioneering members and, as of December 2016, includes 40 institutions in Mexico, Central and South America, and Spain. A Partner Institution category was added in 2001 for institutions that have less than 10% Hispanic enrollment but are committed to improving higher education opportunities for Hispanics. An affiliation category for Hispanic-Serving School Districts (HSSDs) was created in fall 2006 to reach out to K-12 education with 25% Hispanic enrollment and by December 2016 numbered 23 HSSDs in 7 states.
Flores is responsible for the overall leadership, executive management, public and community relations, policy formulation and advocacy, association governance affairs, advancement planning, financial and investment oversight, human resources policies, strategic planning, and programmatic accountability and reporting. These interrelated and complex responsibilities are carried out with the collaborative teamwork of 40 dedicated professional staff at HACU headquarters in San Antonio, TX, and offices in Washington, DC, and Sacramento, CA.
Prior to his position at HACU, Flores served as director of programs and services for the Michigan Higher Education Assistance Authority and the Michigan Higher Education Student Loan Authority. His statewide responsibilities included policy analysis and development, legislative affairs, administrative leadership for programs, technical assistance and outreach services for all Michigan colleges and universities, program evaluation and research, and overall management.
Flores has extensive professional experience in higher education. He has taught at private and public institutions, both community colleges and comprehensive research universities; has conducted research and policy studies, published and unpublished, on higher education issues; has been an administrator of campus-based and statewide programs; has done extensive advancement work at the state and national levels; and has provided public service at the local, state, national, and international levels.
Flores’ longstanding career in higher education includes a series of diverse and challenging responsibilities involving senior executive leadership.
Flores holds a Ph.D. in higher education administration from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, a Master of Arts degree in counseling and personnel from Western Michigan University, and undergraduate degrees in business administration and elementary education from Universidad de Guadalajara and Centro Normal Regional, Mexico, respectively.
During his tenure as president of HACU, the association has nearly tripled its membership (from 161 members in 1996 to 528 in September 2018) and its budget, expanded its programs three-fold, significantly improved legislation for HSIs, increased annual federal funding for HSIs from $12 million in fiscal 1995 to $267 million for fiscal 2018, and secured millions of dollars in new private funding for HSIs and associate members, including a $28 million HSI Kellogg initiative. HACU’s strategic plan calls for even greater gains for its membership in the years ahead. More than $3.3 billion in federal funding has been allocated to HSIs during Flores’ tenure.
Flores is a member of numerous associations including the Washington Higher Education Secretariat, the American Educational Research Association, Independent Sector, and others concerned with the advancement of higher education. He is chair of the Subcommittee on Student and Recent Graduate Recruitment for the Homeland Security Academic Advisory Council, and past chair of the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility and of the Alliance for Equity in Higher Education. Flores has also served on the boards of the American Council on Education, Mexican American Cultural Center, National Hispanic Leadership Agenda and the National Commission on the Workforce of the American Hospital Association.
In 2009, Flores was featured by Univision Network in an Orgullo Hispano capsule, honoring notable and influential Hispanics/Hispanic-Americans. The Educational Policy Institute honored Flores with a Lifetime Achievement Award. He received the Education Award from the Hispanic Organization for Public Employees in San Antonio, Texas. For the second year, he was listed among the Top Influential Leaders in the U.S. and Latino Community by Latino Leaders Magazine.
Other honors received by Flores include being featured among the Top 25 Latino Leaders in Education (September/October 2008 issue) in Latino Leaders Magazine. He was named among the 12 national leaders of Hispanic organizations in the 2008 Líderes advertising campaign by MillerCoors (2008). Flores was the recipient of the Ana G. Méndez University System in Puerto Rico Presidential Medal Award (2004). In 2003, Hispanic Business Magazine recognized him with a Lifetime Achievement Award (2003). He is the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award (2003) and an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters (2017) from Western Michigan University, an Honorary Doctorary of Humane Letters from New Jersey City University (2016), an Honorary Doctorate of Public Service from Notre Dame de Namur University in California (2014), an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Woodbury University in California (2002), an Honorary Doctorate of Education from Madonna University in Michigan (1995), tributes by former Michigan Governors Jim Blanchard and John Engler for outstanding contributions to the educational improvement of the state, joint resolutions by the Michigan House of Representatives and Senate for exemplary work in the state’s higher education system, induction to the “Wall of Honor” as a distinguished alumnus at Western Michigan University (1986), and numerous other awards for special contributions and accomplishments. Flores was valedictorian of his college graduating class and was the recipient of academic merit scholarships and fellowships throughout his educational career.