September 18, 1998

Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities Launches New Organization to Curb Crisis Hispanics Face in Level of Educational Attainment

San Antonio, TX — Less than one of every 10 Hispanics who are 25 to 29 years of age complete four or more years of college, the lowest educational attainment rate among all ethnic groups in the nation. As part of an ambitious plan to reverse this trend and encourage more Hispanics to complete degrees, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) has launched a national non-profit organization called the ¡Adelante! U.S. Education Leadership Fund (¡Adelante! Fund).

As an affiliate organization of HACU, the ¡Adelante! Fund's mission is to strengthen and grow HACU's ability to help students who attend colleges and universities with high Hispanic enrollment rates to complete their degrees through a program comprised of three components: scholarship funding, internships in business and corporations, and leadership training.

"The ¡Adelante! Fund will focus on building more partnerships with the private sector, foundations and corporations to increase the number of students we help with scholarships, internships an leadership training," said Antonio R. Flores, Ph.D., president of HACU and chairman of ¡Adelante! Fund's Governing Board.

To lead the ¡Adelante! Fund, Flores appointed Irma Calderón Woodruff, an award winning marketing and communications professional who spent more than 20 years with SBC (Southwestern Bell), a national telecommunications industry leader based in San Antonio, Texas.

"Despite year-to-year fluctuations, the percentage of Hispanics with four years of college or more has remained virtually unchained since 1975," Flores said. "The creation of the ¡Adelante! Fund marks a new era in HACU's efforts to focus more aggressively on changing the statistics, and we believe that Calderón Woodruff is the right mujer for the job."

"I'm thrilled to join the ¡Adelante! Fund," Calderón Woodruff said. "For the past 20 years, I've been focused on helping corporate America to understand the changing demographics and to see the value in addressing the Hispanic market in our language and in the manner we, Hispanics, prefer.

"Now I plan to devote the rest of my career addressing one of the most critical needs Hispanics face: education and the need to help more Hispanics students to complete their degrees," she said.

"From personal experience, I can tell you that Hispanics face more obstacles in achieving higher education and entering the world of corporate America," she said. "I was so fortunate and have learned so much that I want students to benefit from my experiences and the men-torship of many great managers and leaders across the country."

"With the combination of scholarships, internships and leadership training, I know we can help more Hispanics achieve higher education, enter businesses and corporations, develop fulfilling careers and joint the ranks of leaders and decision-makers who will make the future of our country more prosperous for all people," she said.

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