The Seminary’s Hispanic Theological Initiative (HTI) won the 2010 Examples of Excelencia at the Graduate Level Award, making it the country’s top graduate-level program for accelerating success among Latina/o students. The honor comes from Excelencia in Education, a Washington DC nonprofit.


Pictured are, from left, Joanne Rodríguez, HTI’s director,
Sarita Brown, Excelencia in Education’s president,
Ángela Schoepf, HTI’s assistant director,
and María Kennedy, HTI’s office coordinator.

“This award is a great honor,” said Joanne Rodríguez, HTI’s director. “It acknowledges our success at creating leaders for the wider educational community, while highlighting the needs we must continue to address as America’s Latina/o population grows.” She accepted the honor during a September 29 ceremony at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center in Washington. Speakers included Hilda L. Solis, U.S. secretary of labor, Raúl Grijalva, U.S. representative from Arizona and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Education Taskforce chair, and Ruben Hínojosa, U.S. representative from Texas and the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education Legislator of the Year, among others.

More than ninety schools were nominated for Examples of Excelencia, which recognizes programs that accelerate Latina/o students’ success at the associate, baccalaureate, and graduate levels, and that share information with educators and policymakers.

“The need for an integrated plan to help Latina/o students is evident when you study changing demographics,” said Rodríguez. “The U.S. Census projects that Latinas/os will represent twenty percent of the U.S. population by 2020; they will represent nearly twenty-five percent of the college-age population by 2025. Yet, as of 2008, only nineteen percent earn a college degree.”

For fourteen years, HTI, a consortium of eighteen theological schools, has been supporting Latina/o Ph.D. students studying religion. It offers fellowships, networking, and mentoring to help students succeed. This year, it is supporting eighteen scholars. Program graduates include sixty-eight fellows who earned doctoral degrees; forty-nine who teach full time; and nineteen who serve in administration, research, and ministry.