Organization:United States Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI)
Mr. Andrade was born in the small town of Brownwood, Texas. His parents, both of Mexican heritage, worked hard to provide for their children, but money was always a challenge. He did his part to help – selling newspapers for lunch money, working in restaurants, and doing physical labor, such as farm work and meatpacking.
Growing up at the height of the civil rights struggle in the US, he says he battled with his self-identity, juggling the Hispanic lifestyle he enjoyed at home with the American way of life he experienced in school. In fact, he recalls that expressing one’s Latino culture in school at that time was considered “un-American.”
He sought refuge in his church and found an advocate in Dr. Rivas, a highly educated pastor who encouraged and supported him, and others like him, to use education to overcome their struggles around cultural identity. His parents also stressed the importance of education, despite not having had the opportunity to finish primary school, themselves.
He took the guidance to heart and received a bachelor’s degree from Howard Payne University, a master’s in Education from Antioch College, educational specialist and doctoral degrees from Northern Illinois University, and a post-doctorate master's degree from Loyola University Chicago.
He spent his first 10 years out of college sharpening his skills as a teacher, a political commentator for ABC-7 television in Chicago, and as a columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times. Soon after, Mr. Andrade co-founded USHLI, with the primary purpose of ensuring the social and civic integration of the Latino community and other disenfranchised groups. USHLI pursues these goals by promoting education and leadership development and conducting research on the social, economic, cultural, and political implications of Latino population growth.
Mr. Andrade says he particularly values USHLI’s partnership with HSF, because both organizations are “trying to help empower students through education.”
He is the proud recipient of the Presidential Citizens Medal, awarded to him in 2001 by President Bill Clinton for “the performance of exemplary deeds of service for the nation” and “for extraordinary accomplishments in promoting civic participation and leadership development.”
In 2011, he received Mexico’s Ohtli Award, the highest honor presented by the people and government of Mexico for distinguished service to Mexicans, and Mexicans living abroad.
When asked what advice he would give to students who recently graduated from college, he said, “Remember, success is not measured by how high you climb, but how wide you can reach. So reach wide and the height will take care of itself.”