08:12 AM

South Texas College sole Valley recipient of inaugural Seal of Excelencia

South Texas College has received a prestigious designation that reaffirms more than 25 years of creating a college-going culture for Hispanic students of the Rio Grande Valley.

STC has been bestowed the inaugural “Seal of Excelencia” by Washington D.C.-based Excelencia in Education.

The College was the only higher education institution in the Valley to receive the designation and demonstrates a significant success in serving Latino students according to the organization, which announced STC as the Seal’s recipient June 20.

Excelencia created the seal of approval last year to challenge colleges to increase Latino enrollment and improve student retention rates and faculty representation on their campuses. The Seal confirms STC has demonstrated outstanding success in helping Latino students attend college and graduate.

The designation of the Seal of Excellencia followed a critical review of integrated elements from the institution that set a strong national model for what all institutions can do to intentionally serve Latino students.

STC President Dr. Shirley A. Reed
“This Seal of Excelencia confirms South Texas College has achieved its commitment to serve the Hispanic population of the Rio Grande Valley with unparalleled success.”
STC President Dr. Shirley A. Reed

“Twenty-five years ago, South Texas College embarked on a journey to create a college-going culture for the predominately Hispanic population of the Rio Grande Valley; whereby going to and completing college was possible, affordable, and expected for all Hispanic students,” said STC President Dr. Shirley A. Reed. “This Seal of Excelencia confirms South Texas College has achieved its commitment to serve the Hispanic population of the Rio Grande Valley with unparalleled success.”

Group PicturePictured from left to right: Mario Reyna, STC Dean of Business, Public Safety and Technology; Rose Benavides, Vice Chair, South Texas College Board of Trustees; Deborah Santiago, CEO, Excelencia in Education and Wanda Garza, Executive Officer for External Relations.

Excelencia, a nonprofit organization that seeks to improve education outcomes for Latino college students, announced its initial 20 finalists for the recognition on May 23. Prior to that, the organization named STC among the top institutions in the nation for outstanding, evidence-based results for improving Latino student success in higher education in 2017.

The Advisory Council reviewed STC for several elements including positive momentum in the data for Latino students, evidence of effectiveness and intentionality in institutional practices serving Latino students, alignment of data and practice in serving Latino students, and strategies in leadership that clearly articulate institutional focus on advancing Latino student success.

Members of the Seal of Excelencia’s Advisory Council were comprised of leaders with expertise in postsecondary education and large-scale change arenas. Members include J. Noah Brown, who is President and CEO of the Association of Community College Trustees; Danette Howard, Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer of the Lumina Foundation; William Moses, Managing Director of the Education Program for the Kresge Foundation; Lisette Nieves, Director of Educational Leadership and Clinical Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at New York University Steinhardt; and Havidan Rodriguez, President, University at Albany, SUNY.

“The Seal of Excelencia documents that South Texas College has intentionally implemented evidence-based practices to achieve and exceed the success metrics for all Hispanic students,” Dr. Reed said.