Valparaiso University and President José Padilla Support Hispanic and Latinx Students
October 18, 2023– As Hispanic Heritage Month concludes for 2023, Valparaiso University’s first Mexican-American President, José Padilla J.D., confirmed the University’s commitment to Latino student success. President Padilla has once again been chosen to serve as a member of Excelencia in Education’s Presidents for Latino Student Success (P4LSS) — a diverse group of more than 165 higher education leaders who have committed to making their institutions learning environments where Latino students thrive. This is his third year serving on P4LSS and working to accelerate Latino student success in higher education.
Under his leadership, Valparaiso University has participated in the Evidence-Based Practices Institute, the SSITA (Seal Serving Institutional Transformation Assessment), and an onsite consultation led by Excelencia. Sarita Brown, co-founder and president of Excelencia, said, “Higher education leaders with skills and vision are fundamental to our country’s strong recovery. Those prepared to engage and intentionally serve Latino students, while serving all their students, will lead the way.”
The University’s efforts have shown positive results as the number of new Hispanic undergraduate students has increased by 33% since 2022, with Hispanic students now comprising 11.2% of the overall enrollment. Through this level of intentionality, Valpo will support all students. “We have taken great strides in our efforts to be a more inclusive university through partnerships across the Region, state of Indiana, and nationally,” President Padilla said.
Excelencia professionals, the leadership network and the campus teams actively collaborate to put evidence-based practices and strategic analysis of student data to use, supporting and advancing the talents, skills and contributions of Latino/Hispanic students and the institutions. President Padilla will continue to collaborate with Excelencia to leverage collective expertise and resources, foster partnerships and amplify current efforts at the national level.
The University’s commitment to offering a more inclusive environment is demonstrated in the prioritized initiatives in Uplift Valpo: Our Beacon for the Journey Forward — the University’s five-year strategic plan, which is now in its second year. Most notably, the plan calls for Valpo to attain status as a Hispanic Serving Institution, with inclusion as a core component of recruitment and enrollment efforts.
To achieve that goal, Valparaiso University has already implemented several programs that will assist with student success. Among those are the Bloom Scholars Program, designed to academically, socially and culturally, prepare a cohort of newly admitted first-year students for life at Valparaiso University and beyond; the Access College for Success, which seeks to remove barriers to education, including the social, racial, and economic barriers that have precipitated exclusion from education; and the Ivy Beacon’s Scholarship award to Lake, Porter, and LaPorte County Ivy Tech Chancellor’s Scholarship recipients upon graduation to those who wish to pursue their bachelor’s degree at Valpo.