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UC Merced Partners with Harvard University to Foster Next Generation of Latino Leadership

May 11, 2010

May 11, 2010

Six UC Merced students to join in inaugural program that will
draw participants from across the nation

Quick Facts
  • UC Merced is collaborating with Harvard University for a Latino
    Leadership Initiative
  • Six UC Merced students will participate in the inaugural class.
  • The announcement comes less than a month after UC Merced
    announced that the U.S. Department of Education designated it as a
    Hispanic-Serving Institution

MERCED, Calif. — Six students from the University of
California, Merced, will be part of the Latino Leadership
Initiative (LLI), a new collaboration between the university and
Harvard University’s Center for Public Leadership in the John F.
Kennedy School of Government.

The program is meant to help develop the rising generation of
Latino leaders, as they’re expected to make up 30 percent of the
United States’ population by 2050.

The six UC Merced students were chosen to take part in the
program after a highly selective application process. The students are:

They will be joined by 22 other seniors from Loyola Marymount
University, Texas A&M International, the University of Houston
and the University of Massachusetts, Boston. UC Merced is the only
University of California campus to be part of the collaboration.

The inaugural LLI class will convene June 12 in Cambridge,
Mass., for a weeklong program that will include classes on decision
making, negotiation and public narrative — taught by leading
professors from Harvard, Georgetown and Stanford — as well as
sessions designed to help students develop greater self-awareness
and knowledge of their own strengths and weaknesses as leaders. LLI
participants will also have opportunities to build relationships
with respected Latino mentors from the government, nonprofit and
business sectors.

Dario E. Collado, the initiative’s program manager, said Harvard
was so impressed by UC Merced’s applicants that they expanded the
number of students accepted from five to six.

“This will be a game-changing experience for the participants,”
Collado said.

Regular teleconferences hosted by the Center for Public
Leadership will enable the LLI participants to continue their
leadership development over the ensuing academic year. In addition,
the students from each of the five participating universities will
work as a team to design a community service project that will be
implemented in collaboration with faculty and/or administration
from their home university.

“UC Merced is honored to be partnering with Harvard on the
Latino Leadership Initiative, which will give our students a great
opportunity to learn from many of the leading scholars in the
United States, network with students from across the country and
further develop their leadership skills,” said Jane Fiori Lawrence,
UC Merced’s vice chancellor for
student affairs.
“Having six students involved is a testament to the quality of our
student body. We look forward to working with the Center for Public
Leadership for years to come.”

The collaboration with Harvard comes just after UC Merced was
designated as a

Hispanic-Serving Institution
by the U.S. Department of
Education. The university joins UC Riverside as the only two
University of California campuses to receive the HSI designation.

The designation makes UC Merced eligible for a host of funding
and grants from the U.S. departments of Education, Agriculture, and
Housing and Urban Development. That funding would support research
efforts as well as provide increases in financial aid available to students.

“The Latino community is young and growing and its success is
vital for our country. We see this program as an opportunity to
develop the talents of the next generation of Latino leaders and
help them connect with each other to form a broader network,” said
David R. Gergen, professor of public service at Harvard Kennedy
School and director of the Center for Public Leadership, who will
be a member of the LLI’s teaching team. “But instead of stealing
the students from their communities, our goal is to equip them to
have a deeper impact on those communities once they return —
and to stay connected with them long enough to ensure that the
learning sticks.

“For this vision, and also for the seed money that has enabled
us to launch, we are profoundly grateful to Walter Ulloa, chairman
and CEO of Entravision Communications.”

View more information
about the LLI and the students’ community
service projects as they take shape.