Morton College’s Velázquez selected for HACU’s inaugural Academia de Liderazgo/Leadership Academy

Morton College’s Marisol Velázquez is among 24 fellows selected for the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities’ inaugural Presidential Leadership Academy, LaAcademia de Liderazgo.

The program is designed to increase Hispanic representation in presidential positions in higher education. HACU announced the names of the fellows August 1st.

Velázquez is the Dean of Student Success at Morton College. She is a candidate in the doctoral program in education at DePaul University.

“It’s an honor to be part of the first class chosen for this program,” said Velázquez, who thanked Morton College President Dr. Stan Fields for encouraging her to seek the opportunity. “It will be a great opportunity to create relationships with HACU, the leaders and other fellows in the program. I look forward to bringing back resources to share with the College.”

During a decade-long career that started in 2008 at Morton College, Velázquez has held the positions of Coordinator of Student Success, Director of Student Activities and Workforce Development, and Director of Student Development. She has a bachelor of arts from UIC in political science and Latina/Latino American Studies and a master’s in public policy at UIC.

La Academia is a direct response to the declining percentage of Hispanic university presidents (from 4.5 percent in 2006 to 3.9 percent in 2016), despite the unprecedented growth of U.S. Hispanic college student enrollment.

Selected fellows will participate in an array of leadership development activities designed to prepare them for leadership roles in the full spectrum of institutions of higher learning, but with a focus on leadership positions within Hispanic-Serving Institutions and Emerging HSIs. 

“The Presidential Leadership Academy, LaAcademia de Liderazgo, meets HACU’s mission to champion Hispanic success in Hispanic higher education,” said HACU President and CEO Antonio R. Flores. “By preparing more Latinos/Latinas for leadership roles with a special focus on Hispanic-Serving Institutions, HACU and the Fellows who participate will have a profound impact on the students they serve and the institutions they lead.”

The one-year fellowship program includes three seminars, with the first taking place in October 2019, in conjunction with HACU’s 33rd annual conference, “Championing Hispanic Higher Education Success: Meeting the Challenge of Prosperity and Equality,” in Chicago. The second seminar will lead into HACU’s 25th annual Capitol Forum on Hispanic Higher Education in Washington, D.C., in April 2020. The third seminar will be held in late spring or early summer of 2020, with a focus on international collaborations.

More than a dozen nationally recognized current and emeriti presidents and senior-level administrators will serve on the faculty. Mentorship with a university president will be a key component, as will be the development of a special project designed to have an impact at the fellow’s current institution.

In addition to Morton College, the following are the founding institutions of HACU’s Inaugural Presidential Leadership Academy: American Federation of Teachers; California State University, Fresno; Case Western Reserve University; Colorado State University-Pueblo; Dallas County Community College District; DePaul University; Montclair State University; New Jersey City University; Northeastern Illinois University; Northern Essex Community College; St. Augustine College; St. Thomas University; Universidad Central de Caribe; Universidad Mayor (Chile); University of California, Davis; University of California, San Diego; University of Houston-Downtown; University of Illinois at Chicago; University of Michigan; University of Texas at Austin; and University of Texas at San Antonio.

Other fellows selected and their home institutions are:

  • Floralba Arbelo, Ed.D.                       Albizu University
  • Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval, Ph.D.           California State University, Fresno
  • Suzanne Rivera, Ph.D.                        Case Western Reserve University
  • Derek López, Ph.D.                            Colorado State University-Pueblo
  • Javier E. Olguín, Ph.D.                       Dallas County Community College District
  • Oscar M. López                                  Dallas County Community College District
  • Elizabeth Ortiz, Ed.D.                        DePaul University
  • Katia Paz Goldfarb, Ph.D.                  Montclair State University
  • José Balda                                           New Jersey City University
  • Daniel López, Jr., Ph.D.                     Northeastern Illinois University
  • Noemí Custodia-Lora, Ph.D.              Northern Essex Community College
  • Carmen Arellano, Psy.D.                    St. Augustine College
  • Luis C. Fernández Torres, Ph.D.        St. Thomas University
  • Waleska Crespo-Rivera, Ph.D.           Universidad Central de Caribe
  • Alex Slater, Ph.D.                               Universidad Mayor (Chile)
  • Mario Herane                                      Universidad Mayor (Chile)
  • Raquel E. Aldana, J.D.                       University of California, Davis
  • Olivia A. Graeve, Ph.D.                     University of California, San Diego
  • Daniel Villanueva, Jr.                         University of Houston-Downtown
  • Rudy M. Molina, Jr., Ph.D.                University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Ana Catalina Ormsby                         University of Michigan
  • Victor B. Sáenz, Ph.D.                       University of Texas at Austin
  • Enrique Alemán, Jr., Ph.D.                 University of Texas at San Antonio

Information about the program is available at

About HACU

HACU, founded in 1986, represents more than 500 colleges and universities in the United States, Latin America, Spain and school districts throughout the U.S. The mission of HACU is to Champion Hispanic Success in Higher Education. HACU is the only national association representing existing and emerging Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs). The Association’s headquarters are located in San Antonio, Texas, with regional offices in Sacramento, California and Washington D.C. Information is available at

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