Support of Latino Students Brings National Recognition to UB Chemistry Department

Graduate program is honored as a finalist for national "Example of Excelencia" recognition

Release Date: September 28, 2011

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Luis Colon, chair of chemistry, represented his department at a Celebracion de Excelencia that recognized the nation's top programs for increasing degree completion among Latinos in higher education.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The national Excelencia in Education initiative has recognized the University at Buffalo's chemistry department as one of America's top programs for increasing degree completion among Latinos in higher education at the graduate level.

Selected from a pool of 195 competitors, the department was honored Sept. 27 as one of 16 finalists -- only three others at the graduate level -- for the 2011 Examples of Excelencia recognition during a Celebracion de Excelencia in Washington D.C. Top honors went to programs at El Paso Community College, Texas Tech University and Carlos Albizu University's San Juan Campus, at the associate, baccalaureate and graduate levels, respectively.

Examples of Excelencia is a national initiative to systematically identify and honor institution-based programs and departments that demonstrate with evidence that they effectively boost Latino enrollment, performance and graduation. All recognized programs will appear in the latest edition of Excelencia in Education's "What Works for Latino Students in Higher Education."

"As one of this year's national finalists, the University at Buffalo Department of Chemistry is at the forefront of meeting the challenge of improving higher educational achievement for Latino students, and we congratulate them for their current and continued efforts," said Sarita Brown, president of Excelencia in Education.

Luis Colon, professor and chair of chemistry at UB, attended Tuesday's Celebracion de Excelencia on behalf of his department.

Colon and his colleagues have overseen an array of initiatives designed to bring minority students to the university, including summer research opportunities that have brought Hispanic undergraduates to UB every year since 1997. The chemistry department's graduate program has conferred 16 advanced degrees in the past decade to Latino students, who have gone into industrial or academic positions in the chemical sciences.

Colon, in particular, has established a pipeline to assist UB in recruiting graduates from his alma mater, the University of Puerto Rico at Cayey. He is a member of the advisory committee to the Arthur A. Schomburg Fellowship program, which supports underrepresented minorities in UB graduate programs.

For his work in promoting diversity in the chemical sciences, Colon received the American Chemical Society Stanley C. Israel Regional Award for Promotion of Diversity and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Mentor Award.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.

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