Dr. Diana Natalicio Honored by HHF

Alberto Avalos

Innovation and Technology Program Manager




FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 19, 2016




WASHINGTON, DC – The Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) today announced University of Texas El Paso (UTEP) President Dr. Diana Natalicio will receive the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) Award, sponsored by ExxonMobil, at the 29th Annual Hispanic Heritage Awards on September 22, 2016, at the historic Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C.  The Awards, set for nationwide broadcast by PBS on September 30, recognize the contributions and accomplishments of Latino leaders in various fields while celebrating cultural pride and the great promise to America.  Dr. Natalicio will join the Fania All-Stars, Massy Arias, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Angelica Maria, Junot Díaz, J Balvin, Tony Jimenez and George Herrera. Sponsors, performers and presenters will be announced next week.


“The Hispanic Heritage Foundation is very proud to honor the Dr. Natalicio with the Hispanic Heritage Award for STEM,” said Jose Antonio Tijerino, president and CEO of Hispanic Heritage Foundation. “At a critical time in our country’s need for STEM education and workforce development, Dr. Natalicio has taken a leadership role along with our sponsor ExxonMobil.  Her impact on Latino students and our community has been tremendous.  With two-thirds of new jobs over the next decade projected to be filled by Latinos, Dr. Natalicio is preparing our students in the STEM fields to help move America forward.  We are grateful to ExxonMobil for their partnership in highlighting the inspiring commitment of Dr. Natalicio to STEM and Latino students.”


Diana Natalicio became UTEP’s president in 1988. During her long and distinguished career with the University, Dr. Natalicio has also served as vice president for academic affairs, dean of liberal arts, chair of the modern languages department and professor of linguistics. Her sustained commitment to provide all residents of the Paso del Norte region access to outstanding higher education opportunities has helped make UTEP a national success story. During Dr. Natalicio’s tenure, UTEP’s enrollment has grown from 15,000 to 23,000 students, its annual budget from $65 million to nearly $450 million, annual research expenditures from $6 million to more than $90 million, and doctoral programs from one to 21.


Dr. Natalicio has served on numerous boards including Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF), ACT, the Rockefeller Foundation, Trinity Industries, Sandia Corporation, U.S.-Mexico Foundation for Science (FUMEC), American Council on Education (chair), National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME), Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), and Internet 2. She was appointed by President George H. W. Bush to membership on the Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans and by President Bill Clinton to the National Science Board (NSB), where she served two six-year terms, including three two-year terms as NSB vice-chair.


She has received numerous honors and awards, including honorary doctoral degrees from Georgetown University, Smith College and the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo Leon. Dr. Natalicio was named to the 2016 TIME 100 list of the most influential people in the world. In 2015, the Carnegie Corporation of New York honored Dr. Natalicio with its prestigious Academic Leadership Award, and in 2011, she was presented with the Orden Mexicana del Aguila Azteca, the highest honor bestowed on foreign nationals by the president of Mexico. She has also received the TIAA-CREF Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence and the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education.


The Hispanic Heritage Awards were established in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan to commemorate the creation of Hispanic Heritage Month in America. The Awards are considered to be among the highest honors for Latinos by Latinos, and the program will include top Latino performers and personalities paying tribute to the honorees from the stage.


The Hispanic Heritage Awards serve as a launch of HHF’s year-round, award-winning programs that inspire, prepare and connect Latino leaders in the classroom, community and workforce to meet America’s needs in priority fields. HHF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. For more information on the mission of HHF, visit www.hispanicheritage.org.




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