by: John Rodriguez
Starting off the summer festivity in the city next month will be the Puerto Rican Day Parade. Returning to march along 5th Avenue from 44th Street to 86th, the parade kicks off the summer by celebrating and honoring the nearly 4 million inhabitants of Puerto Rico and the Puerto Ricans living in New York City. Estimated to be one of the largest parades in New York City with nearly three million spectators attending, the parade will celebrate its 54th year on June 10th 2012 and to kick off the celebration the grand marshal for the parade has been announced.
The president of Hostos Community College, Félix V. Matos Rodriguez was named the grand marshal of the Puerto Rican Parade on Tuesday. Rodriguez has named the grand marshal of this year’s parade to accommodate the parade’s theme which celebrates Puerto Ricans and their higher education achievements. “It’s really an honor bestowed on the college as a whole,” Rodriguez said, in response to him earning this year’s grand honor.
Rodriguez became the 6th President of Hostos Community College back in 2009 on July 1st. After graduating from Colegio San Ignacio High School in San Juan, Rodriguez completed his undergraduate studies at Yale University where he graduated cum laude in Latin American Studies. After Yale, Rodriguez went onto Columbia University to receive his Ph.D. in history.
Prior to becoming President at Hostos, Rodriguez held leadership positions within other universities, foundations, policy centers, and branches of government where he used his skills as a trained social scientist to benefit the community. Also, Rodriguez served as Secretary of the Department of the Family for Commonwealth of Puerto Rico where he formulated both public policy and administered service delivery in programs like: Child Support Enforcement, Adoption and Foster Care, Child and Elderly Protection, Food Stamps, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Rodriguez finished his service as Secretary on December 31st, 2009.
While in his position as President of Hostos, Rodriguez is on leave from his tenured position as a Professor at Hunter College where he teaches courses on Black and Puerto Rican/Latino Studies focusing on Caribbean, Latin American, and Latino History. Aside from teaching at Hunter College, Rodriguez served as the director of the college’s center for Puerto Rican Studies which is one of the largest and most important Latino research centers in the United States.
Well on June 10th at 11am you can see the President of Hostos among other Puerto Ricans celebrating and having fun when the 54th Puerto Rican Day Parade takes over New York City along 5th Avenue from 44th Street to 86th.