AAHHE Outstanding Support of Hispanic Issues Award

The AAHHE Outstanding Support of Hispanic Issues Award is given to an individual who has demonstrated outstanding accomplishments and support of AAHHE’s mission. This individual need not be an educator but one who has made significant contributions to higher education as a community leader, civic leader, elected or appointed official, etc.

2023 AAHHE Outstanding Support of Hispanic Issues Award Recipient


Mariana Martínez, PhD
Director of College Assistance Migrant Program
Mendocino-Lake Community College


Mariana G. Martinez, PhD immigrated to the United States at the age of 8 years old, with her mother, Martha and has lived the majority of her life in Sonoma County.  She attended public school in Santa Rosa, CA, and through the Upward Bound programs, became competitive to be accepted and graduated from Sonoma State University (SSU) with a BA in Chicano and Latino Studies and Spanish from.  Her dream was to become a teacher, but soon realized that there were larger structural issues that needed more attention. She earned a master’s degree in Education, Curriculum and Instruction from University of the Pacific. She received her doctorate (2016) in Education Policy, Organization and Leadership from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She was an Outreach Coordinator/Advisor for the Upward Bound and has worked in the school setting, Kindergarten to doctoral education. She is purposeful in the population she works with and for, predominantly students of color from low income/working class backgrounds, usually the first in their family to attend either formal schooling or graduate high school/college. She was founding Coordinator for the UndocuResource Center at SSU and founded El Centro Latinx in the Chicano Studies Department where she taught. She is now the Director for the College Assistance Program (CAMP) at Mendocino College. In 2016, she became the first Latina elected (and re-elected in 2020) on the board of trustees for the Santa Rosa Junior College. Mariana is the mother of 8-year old, Xoaquin Yolotli, whom she has a scholarship named after for at her HS alma mater.    

List of past recipients of the AAHHE Outstanding Support of Hispanic Issues Award:

  • 2022 Amelie Ramirez, Dr.PH
  • 2021 Ester Elena Mulnix, PhD
  • 2020 Dolores Huerta
  • 2019 John Burkhardt
  • 2018 Richard Tapia
  • 2017 Irma Alemar Lawrence
  • 2016 Marie T. Mora
  • 2015 Jamie P. Merisotis
  • 2014 Stephen Jordan
  • 2013 Charles B. Reed
  • 2012 Juan Andrade
  • 2012 Jeanett Castellanos
  • 2011 Enrique G. Murillo, Jr.
  • 2010 Carlos Velez-Ibanez
  • 2009 Peter Rosa
  • 2008 Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez
  • 2007 Eddie Perez
  • 2006 Kurt M. Landgraf
  • 2005 Eugene Garcia
  • 2004 Louis Fernandez
  • 2003 Rick Noriega
  • 2002 Roberto Haro
  • 2001 Jesús Rangel
  • 2000 Art Ruiz
  • 1999 Rubén Hinojosa
  • 1998 Irma Lerma Rangel
  • 1997 Raúl Yzaguirre
  • 1996 Robert Atwell
  • 1995 José López-Isa
  • 1994 Ada López
  • 1993 José Serrano
  • 1992 Edward Apodaca
  • 1991 Ernesto Rodríguez
  • 1990 Eloy Rodríguez
  • 1989 Isaura Santiago
  • 1988 David Hamburg
  • 1987 Allison Bernstein