Story courtesy of
Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities
The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) established the HACU Hall of Champions to honor those who embody the mission of the Association through exemplary efforts “To Champion Hispanic Success in Higher Education.” They began this practice in 2011 with the induction of Antonio Rigual and have continued every year including in 2015 with the induction of Cruz Reynoso. Here are the honorees of HACU’s Hall of Champions.
Throughout his higher education career, the late Dr. Antonio Rigual demonstrated a great commitment to championing Hispanic higher education success as a professor of Spanish, a university administrator and a pioneer of Hispanic higher education on a national level.
Born in Cuba and transplanted to the U.S. at age 15, Rigual started teaching in 1971 at Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) after earning a Ph.D. in Foreign Languages at Louisiana State University. Besides serving as Professor of Spanish, he served in various senior administrative roles, including provost, vice president for institutional advancement and vice president for university relations and also served on numerous university councils/committees.
Rigual’s passion for education and his great vision opened the path to educational opportunities for many students. He served on numerous national and San Antonio commissions and received a variety of awards including being named OLLU’s first Moody Professor (1971), the Fleming Award for Exemplary Faculty Service at OLLU (2000) and San Antonio’s Ford Salute to Education Award (Education Category) in 2006. He was a member of the American Association of University Professors.
He passed away December 9, 2014.
TOMÁS A. ARCINIEGA
As a member of the HACU Governing Board from 1994 to 2000 and again from 2003 to 2011 and past Governing Board Chair (1996-97), Tomás A. Arciniega helped build HACU’s membership to more than 400 colleges and universities serving the largest concentrations of Hispanic higher education students in 26 states and Puerto Rico. His public championship of the country’s fastest-growing school-age population helped HACU win millions of dollars in support from the federal government and the private sector for Hispanic college students and the higher education institutions that serve them.
He served as provost at California State University, Fresno from 1980 to 1983, and in 1983, he was named president of California State University, Bakersfield.
Arciniega was a presidential appointee to the National Council on Education Research; member, Board of Directors, Aspen Institute; member, Air University Board of Directors; member, Board of Trustees, Educational Testing Service; founding member, Board of Trustees, Tomás Rivera Policy Institute, Claremont Colleges; member, Board of Directors, National Hispanic Scholarship Fund; past president, Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC); member, Board of Directors, Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA).
Dr. Anna Solley brought 36 years of higher education experience to her role as president of Phoenix College. Solley’s extensive career exemplified a lifetime commitment to the community college mission. With accomplishments as an instructional and administrative leader, she has developed expertise in every facet of college leadership. Solley assumed the role of acting president of Phoenix College in January 2005 and was appointed president on April 25, 2006.
Solley has served on the Arizona Commission for Postsecondary Education, Arizona Women’s Employment and Education Board as secretary, Arizona State University Downtown Business Advisory Council, National Community College Hispanic Council (NCCHC) Board as past president, Raul H. Castro Institute Advisory Committee and St. Joseph’s Hospital Community Advisory Board. In addition, she has been a consultant-evaluator and a member of the Institutional Actions Council (IAC) for the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association and has served in the past as the Maricopa Representative to the League for Innovation and as an AACC Board member. In addition, she is the founding board president of the National Association of Community College Teacher Education Programs.
Carlos Hernández, a psychologist who has extensive public service experience in higher education, served as president of New Jersey City University from 1993 to 2012. Under his leadership, the institution, formerly known as Jersey City State College, expanded its scope, underscored its urban mission and attained university designation on May 29, 1998. Prior to his appointment, Hernández served in various capacities at the institution: as provost, vice president for academic affairs, executive assistant to the president and member of the faculty.
Hernández is a former member of the Board of Directors of the American Association for Higher Education and chaired the Association’s Hispanic Caucus. He is also a former member of the Governing Board of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities and served as a member of the American Council on Higher Education’s Commission on International Education. Hernández served on the NCAA Division III Presidents’ Council. He is a reader and visiting team member for the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. Hernández was formerly a Middle States Commissioner.
In New Jersey, Hernández served as chair of the Presidents’ Council Academic Issues Committee and is currently a member of the committee.
Agnes Mojica is a distinguished Puerto Rican educator who has served as Chancellor of the Inter American University of Puerto Rico’s San Germán Campus since 1991. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science magna cum laude from the Mayagüez Campus of the University of Puerto Rico where she was recognized as an outstanding alumna in 1997 and which designated her as an Illustrious Alumna in 2001. She obtained a Master of Arts in Latin American Studies from the University of London where she initiated studies toward a doctorate degree. Her research and presentations are both within and outside of Puerto Rico and have been in the areas of political violence, the political implications of world’s energy resources and the role of education in the conservation of the natural resources and in economic development.
She was the first Puerto Rican to preside over the Governing Board of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU). The Inter American University of Puerto Rico, the Citizens of Hormigueros, the Lion’s Club, the Chamber of Commerce, the American Cancer Society and the Association of Hispanic and Black Professors of New York University, among others, have all recognized Mojica for her outstanding service and achievements.
Alexander Gonzalez served more than three decades as a professor and education leader, including the last 12 years as the 11th president of California State University, Sacramento, one of the largest universities in the California State University’s 23-campus system. A native Californian and the first person in his family to graduate from college, Gonzalez has devoted his career to ensuring greater opportunities for students.
Following his belief that universities and communities must work together to improve lives and opportunities, Gonzalez has served as a board member of Valley Vision, an organization committed to improving the Sacramento Region. His previous service to the community includes the boards of directors for Sutter Health and the Crocker Art Museum. Gonzalez also has served as a board chair for the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE).
Additional past service includes chairing the Governing Board of the Hispanic Association for Colleges and Universities (HACU) and an appointment by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to the California Student Aid Commission. He spent six years as a commissioner for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges – the accrediting agency for higher education institutions in California and Hawaii – and was a member of the president’s Advisory Commission of Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans.
The Honorable Cruz Reynoso is a professor of Law Emeritus at the University of California, Davis and was the inaugural holder of the Law School’s Boochever and Bird Chair for the Study and Teaching of Freedom and Equality. The chair recognizes outstanding scholarship and teaching along with a commitment to preserving and expanding the understanding of “the virtues necessary of a great republic.”
A former Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court, Reynoso is recognized for his leadership in civil rights, immigration and refugee policy, government reform, the administration of justice, legal services for the indigent and education. Reynoso has served as vice chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights as well as a member of the Select Commission on Immigration and Human Rights.
In 2000, President Bill Clinton honored Reynoso with a Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor, for his lifelong devotion to public service. Reynoso has also been honored with the Hispanic Heritage Foundation’s Hispanic Heritage Award in Education and the American Bar Association’s Robert J. Kutak and Spirit of Excellence Awardsas well as the UC Davis Medal, the university’s highest honor.