AAHHE Mildred García Founders' Award

The AAHHE Mildred García Founders’ Award is given in the spirit of the extraordinary leadership, stewardship, and courage evidenced by the founding members of the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education. This award honors an individual or organization demonstrating an exemplary commitment to advancing access and success of the Latinx population in higher education; evidencing a pioneering spirit in forging transformational avenues and inclusionary opportunities that support and promote Latinx issues; and achieving outstanding accomplishments aligned with AAHHE’s mission. The AAHHE Founders' Award is now named after Dr. Mildred García. You may see Dr. García's biography and photo here.

Founding Members (January 2003) include:

William Aguilar, California State University, San Bernardino; Norma V. Cantú, School of Law, University of Texas at Austin; Dr. Jaime Chahin, Texas State University; Dr. Mildred García, American Association of State Colleges & Universities; Mr. Dave Gonzales, State Farm Insurance Companies, Western Zone; Dr. Juan C. Gonzales, College of Education, University of Texas at Austin; Dr. Virginia Gonzalez, North Hampton Community College; Dr. Alfredo de los Santos Jr., Hispanic Research Center, Arizona State University; Dr. Estela López, Connecticut State University System; Dr. Loui Olivas, Professor Emeritus, WP Carey School of Business, Arizona State University; Dr. Eduardo Padrón, President, Retired, Miami Dade Community College; Mr. Jesus Rangel, Anheuser-Busch Company; Dr. Ricardo Romo, President, Retired, The University of Texas – San Antonio. 

2024 AAHHE Mildred Garcia Founders' Award Recipient

David Fuentes, PhD
Associate Dean
College of Education
William Paterson University

David A. Fuentes, PhD is Associate Dean in the College of Education at William Paterson University where he began his career in higher education as an assistant professor of teacher education in 2012.  As an education scholar, researcher, and leader Dr. Fuentes has had a profound impact in the lives of the students, faculty, and campus community where he serves.  Through his scholarship, program development and several special projects that he has led, Dr. Fuentes has worked to create more equitable outcomes for students and faculty alike. 

He earned his PhD in Curriculum in Curriculum and Instruction from the Pennsylvania State University and an M.Ed. in Bilingual and Multicultural Education and B.A. from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.  He was born and raised in Amherst, Massachusetts.  The youngest of seven children and born into a family of educators, he continues a legacy in pursuit of equity in public education that was began by parents, Luis and Dora Fuentes.  His father was the first Puerto Rican Superintendent in the Lower East Side of Manhattan (1968-1973) having implemented some of first bilingual programs in the U.S.  His mother served as principal in Holyoke, MA, a community represented by almost 50 percent Latinos.

List of past recipients of the previously known Founder's Award:

  • 2023 Michele Siqueiros
    2022 Adela de la Torre, PhD
  • 2021 Joe I. Castro
  • 2020 Monica C. Lozano
  • 2019 Mari-Luci Jaramillo
  • 2018 Gary Francisco Keller