Chancellors in Puerto Rico and Excelencia Advance Common Cause for Latino Student Success

October 1, 2019

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Media Contact: Chino Chapa, 214.669.4429 or

Four Leaders Commit to National Action Network After Meetings with Excelencia Co-founders

Washington, D.C. – The co-founders of Excelencia in Education, the nation’s premier authority accelerating Latino student success in higher education, recently met with institutional leaders in Puerto Rico to discuss their ongoing efforts, opportunities, and challenges to serve students on the island.

The positive and productive meetings Excelencia President Sarita Brown and CEO Deborah Santiago held in Puerto Rico, in cooperation with Margarita Benitez, Executive Director of Puerto Rican Foundation for the Humanities, resulted in agreements to move forward with joint efforts. As the next step toward stronger collaboration, Excelencia is announcing today four chancellors of Puerto Rican institutions have committed to participate as affiliates of Presidents for Latino Student Success (P4LSS), the organization’s national network of results-oriented leaders working to increase Latino student success in higher education.

Created in 2014, Excelencia’s P4LSS is a diverse group of college and university presidents and chancellors who are each committed to making their institutions a learning environment where Latino students thrive. They collaborate with Excelencia and fellow institutional leaders to leverage collective expertise and resources, foster partnerships, and amplify current endeavors on a national scale.

The four leaders are:
1. Rafael Ramírez-Rivera, Chancellor of the Inter American University, Arecibo campus;
2. Mildred Huertas Solá, Chancellor of the Universidad Ana G. Méndez , Carolina campus;
3. David E. Méndez Pagán, Chancellor of the Universidad Ana G. Méndez , Gurabo campus; and
4. Luis A. Ferrao Delgado, Chancellor of University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras.

They join the ranks of more than 100 presidents and chancellors from throughout the nation working with Excelencia to accelerate Latino student success in and through college, and into the workforce and civic leadership. Learn more about Excelencia’s President For Latino Student Success.

Sarita Brown summed up the meetings by saying, “Puerto Rico has been part of Excelencia’s work on Latino student success, and in our data and practice, since we launched in 2004. This was an appropriate time to reinforce our direct connections with institutional leaders on the island and bring their leadership into the network. We went to listen, to learn, and to better understand how we may work together in the future to support student success.”

Graphic - Four Puerto Rico Chancellors join with Excelencia in Education

Rafael Ramírez-Rivera, Chancellor of the Inter American University, Arecibo, said, “I am a big proponent of utilizing student success analytics and of adopting promising practices to assure the best possible outcomes and academic success for our students. This is why I am working with Excelencia and pleased to be part of the Presidents for Latino Student Success network.”

Mildred Huertas Solá, Chancellor of the Universidad Ana G. Méndez, Carolina, said, “As a leader working hard to consolidate and strengthen our ability to offer the best services to our students, forging a connection with Excelencia is a logical step. Through the network we can share our knowledge and learn from others to the benefit of our campus community.”

David E. Méndez Pagán, Chancellor of the Universidad Ana G. Méndez, Gurabo said, “For years I have known the important work being conducted by Sarita Brown and Deborah Santiago at Excelencia. Now, being a part of Presidents for Latino Student Success will allow us to connect with other like-minded higher educational professionals to advance innovations, exchange ideas and expertise, and develop collaborative projects to impact all of our students. We are all committed to promoting academic quality and excellence in higher education through Excelencia.”

“We are honored to have these trendsetting leaders share their commitment and innovation to our common cause of Latino student success,” Santiago said. “We can all learn from the efforts of these leaders and expand the use of proven strategies for Latino student success. We are proud Excelencia facilitates and inspires leaders to implement innovations that serve all students.”

Now in its 15th year, Excelencia in Education is honored to work in concert with institutional leaders in Puerto Rico whose resilience and commitment to student success are helping produce the next generation of graduates for the workforce and civic leadership of Puerto Rico and all of the U.S.

About Excelencia in Education
Excelencia in Education accelerates Latino student success in higher education 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 has established a network of results-oriented educators and policymakers to address the U.S. economy’s needs for a highly educated workforce and engaged civic leaders. For more information, visit: