Posted October 5, 2006 Atlanta
Communications and Marketing
Contact David Terraso
Hispanic Business magazine ranked the College of Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology as one of the nation's top ten engineering graduate schools for Hispanic students. Tech's engineering school held the number three spot this year.
"The College of Engineering is working harder than ever to ensure that Hispanic students can excel at Georgia Tech," said Don Giddens, dean of the College of Engineering. "With programs such as The Goizueta Foundation fellowships and scholarships, Georgia Tech maintains its long-standing commitment to the Hispanic community."
The ranking cited Tech's reputation as one of the nation's premier research universities and the rapidly growing enrollment of Hispanic students, as well as female and other minority students in preparing them to enter a multicultural workforce.
Tech is one of the largest producers of Hispanic engineers in the country, a status it achieved not only through the high quality and reputation of its engineering programs, but also through targeted recruitment and retention for Hispanic students. The linchpin to these efforts is The Goizueta Foundation, established by the late CEO and chairman of the board of directors of The Coca-Cola Company, Roberto C. Goizueta.
Since 2001, The Foundation has contributed more than $6.5 million to boost recruitment and retention of Hispanic students at the graduate and undergraduate levels through scholarships and fellowships, as well as endowing a faculty chair and a rotating chair position for junior faculty. Since Tech does not use racial or ethnic preferences to determine admissions, student recruiting is central to the Institute's efforts to increase diversity. Support from The Goizueta Foundation in 2004 allowed Tech to hire a program director, Jorge Breton, to support Hispanic recruiting and administer the scholarships. This fall, Tech has awarded 53 Goizueta Foundation-funded scholarships and fellowships to the tune of $220,578.
"We are being recognized for our continuing commitment to recruit and retain a diverse student population, including Hispanic engineers," said J. Carlos Santamarina, professor of civil and environmental engineering and The Goizueta Foundation Faculty Chair. "This is a manifestation of Georgia Tech's emphasis on placing resources to create the right environment, the right mixture of faculty and support staff, and it's a sign of our commitment to welcoming students of Hispanic origin and making sure they feel comfortable at Tech."
Hispanic students are growing at the undergraduate level as well. This year the number of Hispanic students entering the freshman class grew 24 percent over last year. Since 2001, the number of Hispanic freshman has jumped 179 percent. This is a result both of Tech's targeted recruitment efforts to Hispanic students and Tech's growing reputation
among members of all demographic groups. This fall, Tech admitted its largest freshman class ever.
But, if recruitment efforts get students in the door, it's the quality of education, the faculty and student support organizations that keep them at Tech. Essential to these efforts are The Goizueta Foundation Faculty Chairs. Both Santamarina and the Junior Rotating Faculty Chair, Rigoberto Hernandez of the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, use their funding both for long-term academic initiatives and to mentor
The ranking also cited student support organizations such as the Spanish Speaking Organization, La Unidad Latina, Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, the new Hispanic Scholarship Fund and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE). These organizations ensure that Hispanic students have the support they need to be successful at Tech and in their careers.
"I am honored to be part of an institution that is valued not only for its academic excellence but for being a great place for Hispanics," said Lucas Posada, president of Georgia Tech SHPE. "We have increased Hispanic awareness on campus and united the Hispanic community at Tech. SHPE has been able to achieve this by having a balance between professional/academic development activities and social/cultural activities that bring together all Hispanics on campus."
Georgia Tech's Hispanic programs reflect the Institute's ongoing commitment to promoting excellence in education to all members of society. Hispanics are the fastest growing population in the United States. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Hispanics made up just 9 percent of the U.S. population in 1990. In 2000, that number jumped to
12.5 percent. By the next census in 2010, Hispanics are expected to surpass African-Americans as the largest minority group in the country. Universities that don't look to recruit Hispanics may find that their educational offerings lack the diversity necessary for all students to compete successfully in a global job market and economy.
"I think that every single student that comes to Georgia Tech has tremendous potential," said Santamarina. "It's my goal to help them realize that potential."
The Georgia Institute of Technology is one of the world's premier research universities. Ranked seventh among U.S. News & World Report's top public universities and the eighth best engineering and information technology university in the world by Shanghai Jiao Tong University's Academic Ranking of World Universities, Georgia Tech’s more than 20,000 students are enrolled in its Colleges of Architecture, Computing, Engineering, Liberal Arts, Management and Sciences. Tech is among the nation's top producers of women and minority engineers. The Institute offers research opportunities to both undergraduate and graduate students and is home to more than 100 interdisciplinary units plus the Georgia Tech Research Institute.