IRVINE, Calif. (October 22, 2017)— Concordia University Irvine (CUI) hosted its 2nd Annual Latina Leadership Conference on Saturday, October 21, marking another important step in the private, non-profit Lutheran Christian four-year university's initiative to become a full-serving Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI). Over 300 students and parents from 51 high schools and community colleges in the Orange County and surrounding area attended the free half-day conference.
“Today’s conference, which is designed to help Hispanic students and their parents navigate the college experience, is just one part of our University’s first-gen initiative," said Concordia University Irvine President Kurt Krueger. "Our goal of becoming a full-serving Hispanic-Serving Institution is an important part of our commitment to supporting a diverse educational environment that strengthens our campus community and enhances opportunities for dialogue, cultural enrichment and learning."
The conference kicked off with a keynote address by Daisy Cardiel (Concordia ’05) who wiped away a few tears as she walked onstage and was warmly greeted by President Krueger. The Los Angeles native, who is the U.S. Department of State’s Assistant Director of the nation’s busiest Passport Agency in New York, New York, told the audience, “Everything is possible as long as you have that drive and dedication.” Cardiel, the first in her family to obtain undergraduate and graduate degrees, credited her parents, particularly her mother, with her success, said, “They have always been there for me.”
Studies show that female Hispanic students are more likely to qualify and attend college than their male counterparts. Concordia designed its conference for girls who are juniors and seniors in high school and who also attend community college. The conference—whose theme is “college is not a dream, it’s a plan”-- also aligns with Concordia Irvine’s Hispanic first-gen program which is designed to take students’ American upbringing together with their cultural heritage and introduce them to new opportunities in order to navigate the road to college, and to graduate successfully.
Currently, more than 22 percent of Hispanic students make up Concordia University Irvine’s undergraduate student population. Considered an emerging Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI), when CUI reaches 25 percent or more Hispanic student enrollment, it expects to be designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a full-serving HSI, qualifying for funding that helps reach Hispanic students, train faculty, and develop curriculum. As a full-serving HSI, Concordia would be the third four-year HSI university in Orange County, just behind Cal State Fullerton and Vanguard University.
Saddleback High School’s Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps all-girl color guard of Santa Ana opened the conference. Cardiel began with her keynote address, followed by panels “Where I Started” and “Paying for College.” The panels were comprised of first-gen role models from a variety of sectors. Breakout sessions provided an opportunity for attendees to explore Concordia Irvine’s most popular majors including Biology, Nursing, Psychology, Fine Arts, International Studies, Mass Communications, Business, and Education.
Including general and breakout sessions, a total of 25 speakers presented and answered questions from the audience. The free conference, which included sponsors AT&T, Cox Communications and Thrivent Financial, culminated with a lunch and information fair featuring local community colleges, and Concordia University Irvine departments and majors. Like last year, registration numbers exceeded organizer’s goals, making it necessary to close down online registration early.
About Concordia University Irvine
Concordia University Irvine (CUI) is a private non-profit Lutheran Christian four-year liberal arts university that prepares students for their vocations—their calling in life. Concordia offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs in education, nursing, theology, business, and coaching/athletics administration. CUI’s undergraduate program is distinctive because of its nationally recognized core curriculum, Enduring Questions & Ideas, and its Lutheran heritage that provides a thoughtful and caring Christian community that lives out the theology of "Grace Alone. Faith Alone." Concordia is a U.S. News Top Tier Regional University and has been named by The Chronicle of Higher Education as one of the fastest growing private nonprofit master's institutions. The University enrolls over 4,000 students annually and is a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II.
Contact: Caroline Wong
Lizz Mishreki, APR
Director of Public Relations
Concordia University Irvine