San José, Calif.- November 28, 2011- Dr. David López, president of The National Hispanic University (NHU), served as part of the panel “Minority Serving Institution Leaders” at a student policy seminar held by the Association for the Study of Higher Education in Charlotte, N.C., on Nov. 17. López discussed his experiences at NHU, where the majority of students are Hispanic.
According to López, many students at NHU do not follow a traditional path to higher education. “We have students from all walks of life who may have families or other home responsibilities and that means we must be understanding of their situations while also providing them with a challenging environment so that these students graduate and succeed in their professional lives,” he said.
López noted that NHU provides a nurturing and challenging multicultural learning experience through a Familia™ approach that emphasizes mutual assistance among faculty members, students and community partners in a personal, culturally aware and bilingual environment. The university is also actively involved in college preparation programs to encourage higher rates of college enrollment among Hispanic students. The university’s Child Development and Teacher Education programs aim at meeting the need for trained professionals to better prepare Hispanic and other underrepresented students for college.
The “Minority Serving Institution Leaders” panel comes as the success of Hispanic students has become a national concern. The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics and the U.S. Department of Education have released the report, “Winning the Future: Improving Education for the Latino Community,” which notes that college access for Hispanic students in the United States—who make up 22% of all public school students in pre-kindergarten through high school—is critical to ensuring the country remains competitive in the world economy.
López received his Doctorate in Education from New Mexico State University. After three years of teaching in the College of Education at New Mexico State University, he continued his career at California State University-Fresno, where he became a tenured faculty member in the School of Education and Human Development. In 2004, he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from New Mexico State University, and in 2005 he was named the Hispanic-Net Educator of the Year. He has served on the California State Board of Education, and in 2007 he was named Most Influential Latino Educator in the Silicon Valley