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Fullerton administrator honored for commitment to advancing human rights

Dr. Silas Abrego is named a 2012 OC Human Relations award recipient

by Caitlin AdamsPublished: May 14, 2012 02:55 PM

Dr. Silas Abrego
Cal State Fullerton’s acting vice president of student affairs, Dr. Silas Abrego, has been named one of OC Human Relations2012 Diverse Community Leaders. Abrego is credited for his decades-long commitment to fostering human rights and accessibility to higher education.

Rusty Kennedy, executive director of OC Human Relations, described Abrego as “a true hero,” noting his work in co-chairing the leadership development program for the United Way Hispanic Development Council when the committee was first launched 25 years ago.

“This work was over and above the call of responsibility. Sy was a volunteer at United Way in this special Hispanic outreach effort. His leadership helped reframe the nationalistic approach that was suggested to become an inclusive training program attracting diverse young leaders,” Kennedy said.

Abrego was nominated for the award by a colleague, Kandy Mink Salas, one of CSUF’s associate vice presidents of student affairs, who praised the administrator’s commitment to students as “exceptional.” In her letter recommending Abrego for the honor, Mink Salas emphasizes his different campaigns to promote accessibility to higher education and foster communication between groups.

“During Dr. Abrego’s 27-year tenure at the university, he has stressed the theme of cultural diversity and access on the campus and has always fostered an environment in which students are secure, comfortable and prepared to meet the rigors of the academic endeavor,” Mink Salas noted in her nomination of Abrego. “He has been at the forefront of supporting strong educational causes and, on many occasions, these causes were on behalf of the Latino community and its students.”

Among his accomplishments, Mink Salas noted Abrego’s drive to form partnerships among public and private O.C. organizations and groups, leading the charge in spearheading systemic change across educational sectors, and fostering change at the institutional level to promote educational achievement among underrepresented groups in higher education.

“I am incredibly honored by this award. I’ve dedicated my career to the advancement of student success and being recognized for doing my job is humbling, and I'm very appreciative and thankful to OC Human Relations,” Abrego said.

Other honors Abrego has received for his commitments to education and the community include recognitions from the Orange County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Hispanic Bar Assocation of Orange County, Hispanic Outreach Task Force, and the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education.

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