The University of Texas at Austin has launched a new Latino Research Initiative in conjunction with presenting the university’s first Latino Leadership Award to Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush.
“The establishment of this center of research will move the university even further to the forefront of this important field,” said UT Austin President Bill Powers. “The data and findings of this research will inform public discourse and policy decisions for years to come.”
The announcement was made Monday night at a ceremony at which Bush received the first-ever Latino Leadership Award for his service to the university, the state and the nation.
“I am honored and humbled to be the first recipient of the University of Texas Latino Leadership Award,” Commissioner Bush said. “As Texas Land Commissioner and a graduate of the University of Texas, I am proud CMAS is facilitating historical understanding and creating a legacy of cultural respect that should make all Longhorn students proud. Thank you for honoring Hispanic Texans and Hook ’em Horns!”
“In our diverse Latino Texas, there are very few individuals who have the résumé and record of excellence as Commissioner Bush,” said Nicole Guidotti-Hernández, chair of the Department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies. “His life-long commitment to service as a teacher, veteran, UT alumnus and land commissioner makes him an exemplar of why transformative leadership is valued and necessary.”
The new Latino Research Initiative will generate vital data, grants and research about Mexican American and Latino populations in Texas and the nation. It will be part of the Center for Mexican American Studies in the College of Liberal Arts.
The founding director, who has not yet been named, will join leaders from the center and the university’s Department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies in tackling a robust research agenda in health disparity, shifting demographics, the immigration-policing paradigm and youth culture.
“The initiative represents an opportunity for us to re-establish ourselves as a leader in research that directly impacts Latino communities,” said Domino Perez, director of the Center for Mexican American Studies. “It will give students hands-on training working with cutting-edge research on such topics as Latino public health, Latino youth and millennials, or language and cognition.”
The award and initiative build on a 45-year history of Mexican American and Latino studies at UT Austin and follow the establishment of the Department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies last fall.
“Muchísimas gracias por este premio,” dijo Commissioner Bush. “Es un honor para mi recibirlo. Como Latinos, tenemos una gran responsabilidad a nuestras comunidades, a nuestro querido estado de Texas, y a la nación de Estados Unidos. Sigamos generando pequeñas y grandes empresas, sigamos educandonos en la universidad, y sigamos aportando con sudor y trabajo a este estado que tanto nos ha dado.”