by Hugo Teruel, LARES Director
Over the past 40 years, the Latin American Recruitment and Educational Services Program (LARES) has been a think tank for Latinos in higher education at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Operating on a mission of innovation, activism and leadership has produced alumni that have gone on to be great contributors to our community. LARES has been instrumental in not only making sure that doors of opportunity for Latino students are open at UIC, but that students are successful in finishing their college degree. Students see LARES as a home away from home, a space where cultural, emotional and social ills that Latino students face are understood, navigated and surmounted. LARES has always provided that sense of belonging to students and challenge students to their maximum potential. The LARES 40th Anniversary Summit held March 7th with UIC students, faculty, staff, community partners and external institutions reinforced the mission and vision that LARES embodies. The Summit panel recounted the historical importance and legacy that the LARES program has left on many individuals, our community and the university. Notable presenters at the Summit included UIC Chancellor, Dr. Michael Amiridis; Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia; Congressman Luis Gutiérrez; Dr. Leonard Ramirez, Former Director of LARES; Ada López, Former University of Illinois Board of Trustee, José López, Executive Director of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center and Deborah Santiago of Exelencia in Education. Each presenter recognized the tremendous critical and intentional efforts and services that LARES has provided throughout the years in the areas of recruitment, admission, academic advising and retention of Latinos at UIC. As we move forward, LARES will continue to develop strategies that are effective to Latino students and continue to collaborate with internal and external partners to foster successes for Latino students. For more information contact LARES at (312) 996-3356.