He is one of only 4 Latinos in history to be honored by both governments; the United States and Mexico. He received the Presidential Citizens Medal from President Bill Clinton at a White House ceremony for “the performance of exemplary deeds of service for the nation” and “for extraordinary accomplishments in promoting civic participation and leadership development”, and the National Ohtli Award, the highest honor presented by the government of Mexico for distinguished service to the Mexican and Mexican American community in the United States. He has earned five degrees including a BA from Howard Payne University, a M.Ed from Antioch College, an Ed.S and Ed.D from Northern Illinois University, and a post-doctorate MA from Loyola University Chicago. He has received five honorary doctorates and been recognized as a distinguished alumnus by Howard Payne University, Northern Illinois University, and Loyola University Chicago. He has been recognized five times as one of the Most Influential Hispanics in America, inducted into the “Society of Life Models” by OMNI Youth Services, awarded the Medallion for Leadership from the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, the Medallion for Excellence by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, and the Eagle Award from the Latino Leaders Network, all in Washington, DC.
Background: Past and Present
He was a political commentator on ABC 7 television for six years in Chicago and WGN radio and a columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, the only national Latino leader featured regularly as a commentator on English language radio or television and as a columnist in a major publication. He has worked and participated in the democratization of Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, Colombia, Paraguay, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and Haiti. As a boy he sold newspapers and worked in restaurants washing dishes, pots and pans. As a farm worker he picked cotton and hoed weeds in cabbage, watermelon, cantaloupe, peanut and cotton fields. As a high school and college student he worked in factories and meatpacking plants. Originally from Brownwood, Texas, he has received numerous awards for distinguished service and lifetime achievement. He is the President of the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute: USHLI has registered 2.3 million voters, published 425 studies on Latino demographics, trained over 900,000 present/future leaders, awarded over $1.3 million in scholarships and internships, and sponsors the largest Latino leadership conference in the nation. USHLI is a member of the HACR & NHLA Board of Directors. (rev 4.16)