National Organization Honors Two Southwestern College Leaders
Posted: 3/21/2013

National Organization Honors Two Southwestern College Leaders

        Southwestern College Governing Board Member Norma L. Hernandez and Assistant Professor Dr. Sylvia Garcia-Navarrete have earned two of the highest awards bestowed by The American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE) for their contributions to higher education and support of Hispanic communities.
        Hernandez has been selected to receive the Alfredo G. de los Santos, Jr., Distinguished Leadership in Higher Education Award and Garcia-Navarrete will receive the Outstanding Latina Faculty: Service/Teaching in Higher Education Award.
        They will receive their awards at AAHHE’s 8th annual conference in San Antonio, Texas, March 30.
Hernandez was selected because of her sustained contributions and efforts to showcase the significant accomplishments this award represents. Each year, this award is given to an outstanding administrator in the field of higher education who has demonstrated excellence in the profession. The award is named in honor of Dr. Alfredo G. de los Santos Jr., a leader, faculty member, mentor and champion in higher education. 
        “I am incredibly honored to receive such a prestigious award,” Hernandez said. “Southwestern College has been my home for more than 30 years and I am privileged to serve such a diverse community filled with the next generation of leaders.” 
        AAHHE President Dr. Loui Olivas said the organization was proud to present the award to Norma Hernandez.
        “This award reflects her outstanding leadership, dedication to her students, and her strong involvement in community activities and issues dealing with education and equity,” he said.
        Dr. Garcia-Navarrete’s innovative work in teaching developmental reading to students who come from diverse academic, socioeconomic, cultural and ethnic backgrounds earned her the Outstanding Latina Faculty: Service/Teaching in Higher Education Award. The award recognizes an individual who has provided outstanding service through programming and direct work with students in a teaching oriented institution. 
        In recognizing Dr. Garcia-Navarrete, AAHHE called her “a proactive leader in the field of higher education who inspires other educators to reach out to students. She is dedicated to cultivating a solid educational foundation that empowers individuals to discover and achieve their fullest potential within a safe learning environment.” Her outstanding work ethic and professional integrity provide a role model for her students, as she never asks them to work any harder than she is willing to work. 
        Dr. Garcia-Navarette said she was honored to be the recipient of this distinguished award. 
        “Southwestern College is a melting pot of cultures and ideas,” said Dr. Garcia-Navarrete. “To be able guide students with diverse backgrounds and enormous potential, and to witness their academic transformation has been incredibly rewarding.”  

Award winners Norma Hernandez and Sylvia Garcia-Navarette pose with the Governing Board

AAHHE Award Winners: Governing Board Member Norma L. Hernandez and Assistant Professor Dr. Sylvia Garcia-Navarrete (center) show their awards at the April 10, 2013 Governing Board Meeting. L-R: Trustee Tim Nader, Trustee Terri Valladolid, Garcia-Navarrete, Hernandez, Trustee Humberto Peraza, Jr., Student Trustee Juan Luis Espinoza and Superintendent/President Dr. Melinda Nish.

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