Dr. Kimberly Andrews Espy, Wayne State University’s new president, was hosted by the Consortium of Hispanic Agencies (CHA) at a “Meet and Greet” with members of the Southwest Detroit community on Tuesday, October 3 at LA SED’s Senior and Youth Center at 7150 W. Vernor Hwy. The organizational members of CHA include CHASS Center, Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation, LA SED, MANA de Metro Detroit and SER Metro-Detroit.
Dr. Espy, originally from Ohio, comes to us after serving as Provost (senior vice president) of the University of Texas at San Antonio. UTSA, like Wayne State, is a Research One, urban university that promotes the social mobility of working-class, first-generation students of all backgrounds.
In a September 23, 2023 article in UTSA Today, President Taylor Eighmy, credited the departing Dr. Espy with being a driving force in making UTSA an engine of affordable social mobility and college to career success. She also raised the standing of UTSA in research and fundraising.
Of particular importance to Wayne State and the Latin community, the article states, “Her leadership enabled UTSA to earn Excelencia in Education’s prestigious Seal of Excelencia, a designation recognizing the university’s ability to accelerate Latino student success and to become a founding member of the Alliance of Hispanic Serving Research Universities…”
President Espy has brought Excelencia to Wayne State University. On her arrival, she joined Excelencia’s network of Presidents for Latino Students Success. She is determined to earn the Excelencia Seal for WSU.
Dr. Espy’s goal blends perfectly with our university’s longstanding urban mission and tradition of serving first-generation college students. This is especially the case for the Center for Latina/o and Latin American Studies (CLLAS) that is the model for the rest of the communities of learning on campus.
Under the leadership of Director Dr. Jorge L. Chinea, Associate Director Melissa Miranda Morse, and the center’s mission-driven faculty, staff and students, CLLAS has become a miniature version of the whole university in research, teaching, student academic self-empowerment, campus programming, community outreach and fundraising.
CLLAS is the modern version of the former Latino En Marcha (LEM) program and Center for Chicano-Boricua Studies (CBS). It was founded in 1971-72 by a collaboration of Wayne State, LA SED, and New Detroit, Inc. The Center admits students of all backgrounds.
The leaders of CHA who were present at the event expressed their continuing commitment to their partnership with Wayne State University to advance educational opportunities for everyone in Detroit and Michigan. The Latino Faculty and Staff Association (LFSA) of Wayne State echoed its support.
President Espy responded. “I had to come to Wayne State to find my Center for Latino and Latin American Studies!”