WASHINGTON— Elected officials and higher education leaders from across the country came together Wednesday in the nation’s capital for the announcement of the 2016 Examples of Excelencia, America’s top programs in colleges, universities and community based organizations that increase academic achievement for Latino students at the associates, baccalaureate, and graduate levels.
Examples of Excelencia is the only national initiative to systematically identify, recognize, and catalogue evidence-based programs that improve Latino success in higher education. Over the past decade, Examples of Excelencia has reviewed more than 1,300 program nominations and recognized over 150 programs across the nation.
Excelencia in Education, the non-profit that conceived and runs this national initiative, honored the following programs as the 2016 Examples of Excelencia:
  • Pathway to the Baccalaureate, Northern Virginia Community College Annandale, VA
  • Bachelor of Social Work, St. Augustine College, Chicago, Chicago, IL
  • EPOCHS: Enhancing Postbaccalaureate Opportunities at CSUF for Hispanic Students, California State University, Fullerton, Fullerton, CA
  • College Success Program, Barrio Logan College Institute, San Diego, CA
Excelencia in Education uses a multi-step, results-driven process and a committee of national experts to identify four Examples of Excelencia each year. One Example is chosen in each of the four categories: associate, baccalaureate, graduate, and community-based organization. This year, the Examples of Excelencia were selected from among 190 programs nominated from 33 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. Additionally, 16 programs were recognized as Finalists. Profiles of the selected programs are published in the 2016 edition of “What Works for Latino Student Success in Higher Education” and added to the Growing What Works Database, America’s largest database to provide tactical information about how to accelerate Latino degree completion.
“As the president of an institution with programs that have been recognized as Examples of Excelencia in previous years, I know how this national recognition has enhanced the programs’ ability to expand, to become sustainable, and, ultimately, to be replicated to accelerate college success among Latino students,” said Diana Natalicio, President of the University of Texas at El Paso, and one of Excelencia's Presidents for Latino Student Success who delivered remarks at the 2016 Celebración de Excelencia. “We are proud of our longstanding collaboration with Excelencia in Education and to be part of the growing national network of programs and institutions working to strengthen America by embracing the contribution of Latinos.”
“The way this program takes ownership and really tries to help under-represented groups – not just Latinos, but of all backgrounds – is so impactful and has so many implications for how we feel, our mental health, how we are able to succeed in this space, and not just graduate with our degree, but excel,” said Ángela Gutiérrez, a student in the EPOCHS program at California State University Fullerton, this year’s Example of Excelencia in the graduate category.
“Every one of these programs is effective in accelerating Latino student success, and we’re pleased to recognize their current and continued efforts,” said Sarita Brown, president of Excelencia in Education. “By celebrating these top programs, Examples of Excelencia is building momentum to use practices that work for Latino students and help colleges and universities develop America’s future workforce and civic leadership.”
“Even 10 or five years ago around Barrio Logan, you didn’t have students who wanted to go to college,” said Lupe Sandoval, a 2011 graduate of the Barrio Logan College Institute, the Example of Excelencia in the community-based organization category. “And now when you go around Barrio Logan you have students who are wearing university sweaters. You know they are at least thinking of going to college because they have a lot of people they can count on.”
“We are committed to advancing proven practices that effectively serve Latino students,” says Deborah Santiago, COO and vice president of Excelencia in Education. “By focusing on asset-based approaches to serving Latino students, we will continue to inspire, inform and support the recognition -- and replication -- of the practices that serve Latino students and, thus, serve the country.”
Examples of Excelencia is presented in collaboration with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. The 2016 sponsors are ACT, Univision, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, PG&E Corporation and Civitas Learning.

Excelencia in Education accelerates higher education success for Latino students by promoting Latino student achievement, conducting analysis to inform educational policies, and advancing institutional practices while collaborating with those committed and ready to meet the mission. Launched in 2004 in the nation’s capital, Excelencia is building a network of results-oriented educators and policymakers to address the U.S. economy’s need for a highly educated workforce and engaged civic leadership. For more information, visit: www.EdExcelencia.org.
Release Date
Wed, 09/21/2016 - 1:07pm
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