The cost of attending college continues to steadily increase, leaving students and parents saddled with hefty bills and long-dated loan payments. Many question if higher education is worth the expense. Dr. Antonio R. Flores, president and chief executive officer of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), believes the importance of education cannot be overstated.
"In short, if you think education is expensive, try ignorance," says Dr. Flores, borrowing an often repeated quote, told Latino Leaders. "Education is crucial to the overall development of an individual, as well as future earnings and successes."
Antonio is a prime example of education's payoffs. "Education is what allowed me to move from a little farming town in Mexico to where I am today," Antonio shared.
Antonio earned undergraduate degrees from Universidad de Guadalajara in business administration and in elementary education from Centro Normal Regional, Mexico. He taught at a small Mexican school for almost two years before recognizing he had a bigger calling. At the age of 25, he left Mexico for the United States and started from scratch. Tasked with learning a new language and a new system, he excelled at both.
Antonio went on to earn a Ph D. in higher education and administration from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and a Master of Arts degree in counseling and personnel from Western Michigan University. His distinguished career in higher education includes a number of teaching positions, research and policy studies on higher education issues, myriad awards and accolades, and senior executive leadership positions--including his current post at HACU.
HACU is a national organization that represents more than 450 colleges and universities that collectively serve two-thirds of the more than 3 million Hispanic students in U.S. higher education across 35 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. HACU's reach does not stop there. HACU's international membership of leading higher education institutions is also an important HACU constituency.
At HACU, Antonio's responsibilities are vast. He is in charge of the overall leadership, executive management, public and community relations, policy formulation and advocacy, association governance affairs, advancement planning, financial and investment oversight, human resources policies, strategic...