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Higher Ed Commissioner to Discuss Latino Student Success at HCC

HOLYOKE — Carlos Santiago, commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, will be the keynote speaker at an event on Wednesday, Jan. 17, celebrating Holyoke Community College’s (HCC) federal designation as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI).

Santiago’s talk, scheduled from 9:10 to 10 a.m., will focus on improving the academic success of Latino students and the importance of this rising demographic in higher education and in Massachusetts. The talk will be followed at 10 a.m. by a faculty and staff panel discussion concentrating on HCC’s future as an HSI.

“Our goal for the day is to develop a common understanding of our Hispanic Serving Institution designation and collectively form a vision of HCC as an effective HSI,” said President Christina Royal.

Hispanic Serving Institution is a federal designation for colleges and universities where more than 25% of the student population is Hispanic. HCC received status as an HSI last year. As an HSI, HCC is eligible for federal grants that can be used to improve services and programs that benefit all students.

Santiago joined the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education in April 2013 as the senior deputy commissioner for Academic Affairs and was appointed commissioner of Higher Education in July 2015. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from Cornell University and brings more than 30 years of experience in public higher education, having served as chancellor of the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee (UWM, Wisconsin’s second-largest research university), provost and chief operating officer at the University at Albany (SUNY), and professor of Economics at UWM and SUNY-Albany.

He is the author or co-author of six books and has published dozens of articles and book reviews, many of which focus on economic development and the changing socioeconomic status of Latinos in the U.S. In 1996 and 2011, Santiago was named one of the 100 most influential Hispanics in the country by Hispanic Business magazine.

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