Office of External Communications

Houston, TX 77204-5017 Fax: 713.743.8199

September 29, 2005

Contact: Marisa Ramirez
713.743.8152 (office)
713.204.9798 (cell)

State’s Award Recognizes Efforts to Close the Gaps in Higher Education

HOUSTON, September 29, 2005—The University of Houston Center for Mexican American Studies (CMAS) has been named a finalist for the prestigious Star Award by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

“This is a great honor that speaks volumes about the importance and value of Mexican American studies in higher education,” Tatcho Mindiola, director of CMAS said. “We are proud of our program, our students and our university.”

The Star Award was established to recognize exemplary contributions toward closing educational gaps, and supports the state’s “Closing the Gaps by 2015” higher education plan.

“The Star Award is a special honor and tribute to the people on our college campuses who have the foresight, knowledge and skill to build and administer these successful efforts,” said Commissioner of Higher Education Raymund A. Paredes.

The Center for Mexican American Studies was established in 1972 and encompasses the humanities, fine arts, communications, education and social sciences. Located within the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, CMAS has evolved into an academic unit with four components: teaching, research and publications, recruitment and retention, and community service. CMAS also includes a program, Academic Achievers, which mentors students beginning in high school to ensure they integrate fully into university life and stay through graduation. Latino students who participate in Academic Achievers have a graduation rate twice as high as other Latino students at UH.

“If students are the first in their family to attend college, we know they’ll need extra help dealing with all the challenges of university life,” Rebeca Trevino, program manager for Academic Achievers said. “That means more than just academic help, but help with scholarships, social issues and counseling.”

A nine-member committee consisting of Coordinating Board members, state community leaders and out of state education experts selected the Star Award finalists. The winner will be announced at an Oct. 10 ceremony at the Coordinating Board’s Governing Board Conference in Austin.

For more information about the UH Center for Mexican American Studies, please visit

About the University of Houston

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