Update: Cal State Fullerton President Mildred García was honored earlier this month as this year’s recipient of the American Council on Education’s Reginald Wilson Diversity Leadership Award.
The award is named in honor of Wilson, senior scholar emeritus at ACE and founding director of the Council’s Office of Minority Concerns (now part of ACE Leadership), and is presented annually to an individual who has made outstanding contributions and demonstrated sustained commitment to diversity in higher education.
“Mildred García is a leader who fully embodies the essence of this award with passion, integrity and commitment to ensuring inclusion for all students on a national and local level,” said ACE President Molly Corbett Broad. “Her ability to work across boundaries and within diverse communities demonstrates the kind of leadership necessary in the 21st century. I am pleased to add her name to the list of Wilson Award winners who have honored Reginald Wilson’s legacy.”
As president of CSUF, a Hispanic-Serving Institution, García has been an advocate for increasing diversity and inclusion at all levels of the University and surrounding community. She established a Student Success Center in each of CSUF’s eight colleges to provide adequate support and advising services to increase graduation rates, reduce the time to earn a degree and narrow the achievement gap for underrepresented students. The University’s graduation rate for first-time freshmen rose to 63 percent in 2016 — the highest in its history. CSUF also eliminated the achievement gap for transfer students.
Under García’s leadership, Cal State Fullerton has become No. 1 in California and No. 2 in the nation for awarding bachelor’s degrees to Hispanics. CSUF also is No. 6 in the nation for bachelor’s degrees awarded to underrepresented students, as reported in Diverse: Issues in Higher Education and based on data collected by the U.S. Department of Education.
In her second year as president, CSUF led the 23-campus California State University system in establishing the first Titan Dreamers Resource Center. It provides undocumented students with academic support, referrals to financial assistance, information on programs and services designed to improve retention and graduation rates, as well as a comforting environment, where students can connect with one another.
The award was presented March 14 during ACE’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C.