Featured Speakers for 2017 Texas Male Student Leadership Summit
Dr. César Cruz from marching 76-straight miles, to hunger striking for 26 days, César has dedicated his life to fighting for justice. He was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, México and migrated to the U.S. at a young age with a single mother, and grandmother. César graduated from UC Berkeley with a B.A. in History. He has been an educator for 22 years, in positions of leadership for the last 17 years, most recently serving as the Dean of Secondary Schools Program at Harvard University. For the last four years, he has overseen the Homies Empowerment Program serving gang impacted/involved youth in Oakland, CA. He is the author of two books, Revenge of the Illegal Alien, and Bang for Freedom. He received his doctorate in Educational Leadership at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, becoming the first Mexican immigrant male to do so. Amidst all, he is proudest to be a husband, and father of three children: Olin, Amaru and Quetzali.
Ernesto Mejia, is the proud son of Mexican immigrants, is a true example of the American dream. Diagnosed with the rare disease of Guillain-Barré Syndrome at the age of 16 that left him temporarily paralyzed, he was not supposed to be a successful student, much less a College Dean of Students. Through his hardships, Mr. Mejia learned to never give up on life. A founding member of the Student Leadership Inspired by Consuelo Kickbusch (SLiCK) program, Mr. Mejia now speaks to students, parents and teachers about overcoming obstacles and never giving up on the American dream: education. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish Language and Literature from Eastern Michigan University and a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Lewis University.
Master of Ceremonies
Dr. Patrick Valdez, Chief Executive Officer, University of New Mexico, Taos. Dr. Valdez, as held several executive level positions at public and private universities as well as national higher education associations in Washington D.C. Dr. Valdez has committed his life to helping students overcome the barriers and obstacles to obtaining a college degree and currently serves as dean of the Undergraduate College at College Mount Saint Vincent. He received a bachelor of arts in International Studies from St.Edward’s University, a master of arts degree in Student Personnel Administration from Teachers College, Columbia University in the City of New York, and a doctorate in Higher Education Administration from the University of Texas Austin.