SAN ANGELO, Texas (Concho Valley Homepage) — Angelo State University has earned the prestigious Seal of Excelencia from the Excelencia in Education organization for demonstrating the use of data, practices and leadership to develop programs and strategies that intentionally serve Latino students while serving all ASU students.

According to its website, Excelencia in Education seeks to accelerate “Latino student success in higher education by promoting Latino student achievement, conducting analysis to inform educational policies and advancing institutional practices while collaborating with those committed and ready to meet the mission.” The organization, led by Latinos, was established in 2004 and has since grown to become “an authority in this field with a reputation as a national transformative leader and innovator in higher education by informing, organizing and compelling action.”

The Seal of Excelencia is a certification designed to recognize institutions that are setting a trend for the transformation needed to accelerate Latino student success and meet the overall mission of higher education for all students.

ASU is one of the nine institutions across five states to earn the seal in 2023, and one of the three in Texas to do so. Only 39 institutions nationwide have earned the Seal of Excelencia since the program began in 2018.

“The Angelo State campus community is proud to have earned the Seal of Excelencia and believes it puts an exclamation point on our values-based culture that focuses on community and significance,” ASU President Ronnie Hawkins Jr. said. “To be one of only 39 institutions of higher education to receive the Seal of Excelencia is a distinction that accentuates our desire and efforts to be a positive force multiplier for ‘changing family trees’ by advancing Latino student success and meeting the Texas Higher Education Board’s strategic plan to build a talent-strong Texas.”

The seal is not an award or ranking, but rather a certification earned through a data-driven process. If an institution meets the criteria for the seal, it is granted it for three years. Afterward, the institution must be re-certified to retain the seal.

An institution earns the Seal of Excelencia by demonstrating alignment across the three core areas of data, practice and leadership that shows:

  • Evidence of effectiveness and intentionality in institutional practices serving Latino students
  • Positive momentum for Latino student progress in their data
  • Dedication to transforming the institution into an environment where Latino students thrive
  • Strategies in leadership that clearly articulate institutional focus on advancing Latino student success

“There is a real difference between colleges and universities that enroll Latino students and those that intentionally serve them,” Deborah Santiago, co-founder and CEO of Excelencia in Education, said. “Those that earn the seal are trendsetters on a journey of transformation, showing what it takes to progressively increase positive outcomes for Latino, and all, students for others ready to meet the mission.”

ASU’s application process took two years to complete, and it was completed through the combined efforts the university’s top administrators and over 20 faculty and staff members in offices and divisions across the campus. The Seal of Excelencia is also a significant credential that will further enhance ASU’s status as a Hispanic Serving Institution, which could give ASU an advantage when competing for future federal grants to support programs and services that benefit all ASU students.

Hawkins has also become a member of Presidents for Latino Student Success, a component of the Excelencia in Action network that collaborates to leverage collective expertise and resources, foster partnerships and amplify current efforts at the national level.