Briarcliffe College President Dr. George Santiago Featured Honoree During Hispanic Heritage Month

October 26, 2010

BETHPAGE, NY – (October 26, 2010) Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month each fall from September 15 to October 15 with celebrations of the culture, history and contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans.  On Long Island, NY, Dr. George Santiago, Jr., president of Briarcliffe College, is a prominent advocate for educational opportunities for Hispanic Americans and the recipient of recognitions for his personal and professional achievements and leadership.

On September 30th La Fuerza Unida recognized Dr. Santiago; Edward P. Mangano, Nassau County Executive; Rodney C. Armstead, MD, President, Northeast Region Plan Operations for AmeriChoice Of UnitedHealth Group; and Dennis Connors, Executive Director, Glen Cove Hospital, part of the North Shore – LJJ Health System, at the organization’s annual gala.

“La Fuerza Unida strives to enhance the social, literary, educational, cultural and economic conditions of Hispanic Americans of low and moderate income,” noted La Fuerza Unida Executive Director Pascual Blanco in presenting the Educational Excellence and Leadership Award to Santiago.  “Dr. Santiago’s commitment to these beliefs is marked not only by his position as Briarcliffe College president, but his outreach to the community.”

In addition to launching the Hispanic Scholarship program at Briarcliffe College, Dr. Santiago creates alliances with Hispanic organizations to support the progress of Latinas enrolled at the college. 

Invited to deliver the keynote address at the 21st Anniversary celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month hosted by the Office of Diversity and Affirmative Action at the State University of New York at Stony Brook on September 29, Dr. Santiago expressed his commitment to diversity within educational institutions, describing his own academic track as the son of factory workers of Puerto Rican descent who were never schooled beyond the 5th grade.

Based on the theme “Latinos Paving the Way to a Brighter Future,” the event drew about 100 people to the University’s Student Activity Center to listen to guest speakers and enjoy a performance of the University’s ballroom dance team. 

In his keynote, Dr. Santiago acknowledged advancements — including the appointment of Justice Sonia Sotomayor as the first Hispanic American woman to the U.S. Supreme Court — but also drew attention to some hard statistical truths and the challenges in the area of immigration reform and anti-Latino bias.

“We live in a country where the Hispanic unemployment rate is at 9.6% and where Hispanics are the least likely to complete a high school education, or to enter or complete college,” said Santiago.  “Sadly, there are more Hispanics in our prison system that in our colleges’ residence halls.”

Dr. Santiago believes in the mentoring process, having experienced firsthand the value of assistance given him by teachers and community leaders.  In some part, this led to his recognition as a Hispanic Heritage Community Leader last spring by the Theodore Roosevelt Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

In 2010, Dr. Santiago was also recognized as a Top 50 Hispanic Leader by La Fiesta Radio and in 2009, he received the Hispanic Heritage Award from Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi and the Long Island Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

He was personally cited as a “Hispanic Role Model” by the Suffolk County Office of Minority Affairs and recently, Briarcliffe College received a Governor’s Citation in recognition of public forums held at the college’s Patchogue campus following the 2008 attack and death of immigrant Marcelo Lucero.

George Santiago Award

La Fuerza Unida Executive Director Pascual Blanco (left) presents the Excellence in Education and Leadership Award to Dr. George Santiago, Jr., (right) President of Briarcliffe College.

About Briarcliffe College
A proprietary institution with locations in Bethpage, Patchogue and Queens NY., Briarcliffe College is a four-year career education college offering degree programs in accounting, business administration, criminal justice, graphic design, information technology, management and paralegal studies.  Programs vary by location.  The Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, (267) 284-5000 accredits Briarcliffe College. Briarcliffe College does not guarantee employment or salary.  Briarcliffe College is also a member of the Career Education Corporation (NASDAQ:CECO) network of colleges, universities and schools.  For more information visit www.bcl.edu.

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