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FDU Stories Hispanic Center

Four Programs, One Mission

For 20 years, FDU has dedicated itself to serving Hispanic students through innovative and engaging academic programming. The Hispanic Center brings together four programs under one roof: Latino Promise, for English speakers with Latino roots and for emergent bilingual students; Puerta al Futuro, for adult learners; HACER (Hispanics Achieving College Education Recognition), for traditional college-aged students; and Avanza, for dually enrolled high-school students.

Irene Oujo, executive director of the Hispanic Center, is a first-generation Latin American whose parents came to the U.S. in the early 1970s. “It was a drastic change in terms of the culture, the language and the geography, moving from a rural area to an urban one,” she says. Her parents prioritized their children’s education. But when it came time to apply to college, she, like so many first-generation students, didn’t know how the process worked. That sense of uncertainty is something she wants students and their families to avoid, and instead to feel at home when they come to campus, both before and after application and acceptance.

FDU has been recognized as a Fulbright Hispanic Serving Institution Leader and is a member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. The Latino Promise and HACER programs have been recognized as Examples of Excelencia by the nation’s premier authority on accelerating Latino student success in higher education, Excelencia in Education. “The University’s strategy is to meet learners where they are academically and culturally,” says President Michael Avaltroni. “Along with the University as a whole, the Hispanic Center focuses on providing educational opportunities that create a path for social mobility and on creating communities of belonging for our students.”

We strive to educate as many people as we possibly can, certainly those who are interested in improving their lives, expanding their perspectives, getting college degrees and moving forward.  

Executive Director: Hispanic Center

Learn more about the Students First campaign at SUPPORT.FDU.EDU/STUDENTSFIRST