NJCU Interim President Andrés Acebo (left) with Dr. Antonio Flores, president of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU)
Higher Ed

Hispanic-serving Institutions Uplift Communities

New Jersey City University (NJCU) Interim President Andrés Acebo welcomed Dr. Antonio Flores, president of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), to the university last Friday for a roundtable discussion on the crucial role that Hispanic-serving institutions play in uplifting communities and providing equal access to education, and the importance of investing in HSIs. Acebo, the only current Latino university president in the state and only the second in the history of the state, also presented Dr. Flores with the New Jersey City University Presidential Medallion, during his first-ever visit to the campus.

“It’s not lost on me the significance the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities has had, not just for NJCU,” said Acebo. “There is no better advocate for HSIs in Washington and nationally than Dr. Flores. I mean that from the bottom of my heart. We are poised as a community to be elevated because we have true champions that live the mission. HACU is the singular national voice for Hispanic-serving institutions and Hispanic-serving school districts across the country.”

Acebo was joined by Assemblywoman Angela McKnight, Hudson County Community College President Dr. Christopher Reber, Union City Public Schools Superintendent Silvia Abbato, Jersey City Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Norma Fernandez, members of the NJCU Board of Trustees, as well as current NJCU students. The group discussed the vital role of HSIs in increasing economic mobility, and NJCU’s unparalleled role in providing access to education for everyone in Hudson County, regardless of their economic circumstances or background.

“We must create a new paradigm of collaboration among all levels of education, creating pathways to success and helping young people to think of themselves as future scientists, engineers, professionals, social workers, teachers — whatever it is that they choose to become — thinking of themselves as the leaders of this nation,” said HACU President Dr. Flores. “That takes institutions like NJCU. I feel honored to take part in this conversation today, and to be sharing ideas about how we are going to continue to contribute to the betterment of the country and beyond.”

“Being here gives us new energy and ways of thinking about what we’re going to do next. Thank you very much for inviting me to be part of this here today, and keep up the great work you’ve been doing,” said Dr. Flores. “Isn’t [President Acebo] a great leader? We also pride ourselves in the fact that he is one of our alumni from the Leadership Academy!”

​​Acebo completed a one-year fellowship program as part of the third annual cohort of the HACU Leadership Academy/La Academia de Liderazgo in Spring 2022, when he was one of just 25 fellows selected nationally.

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