By Victoria Cepeda
Today, in a ceremony at the White House, Cuban-American Professor Teofilo Ruiz and Chicano Professor Ramón Saldívar received the 2011 National Humanities Medal from President Obama.
In a time where Latino young men experience the hightest high school drop out rate as well as the lowest college enrollment and graduation rates among minorities, it’s comforting and encouraging to see Ruiz and Saldívar being recognized for their work in academia. They certainly are an example that hard work pays off regardless of the chosen field. While not everyone can go on to achieve such high academic achievements, we know that many students out there would feel inspired and motivated to stay in school. At least that’s what we ultimately hope to convey by sharing this news.
The White House has listed below the reasons why Ruiz and Saldívar are among this year’s recipients and we wanted to share with you their achievement that, by proxy, it’s also ours.
Teofilo Ruiz – for his inspired teaching and writing. His erudite studies have deepened our understanding of medieval Spain and Europe, whilehis long examination of how society has coped with terror has taught important lessons about the dark side of western progress.
Ramón Saldívar – for his bold explorations of identity along the border separating the United States and Mexico. Through his studies of Chicano literature and the development of the novel in Europe and America, he beckons us to notice the cultural and literary markings that unite and divide us.
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