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Sylvia Puente named among nation's most influential Hispanics

Author: Arts and Letters


Sylvia Puente, director of the Metropolitan Chicago Initiative for the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies (ILS), is named among Hispanic Business magazine’s “100 Most Influential Hispanics” in the U.S.

Other honorees featured in the October 2005 issue include ABC News correspondent, Jim Avila; Manny Diaz, mayor of Miami; actor/director Andy Garcia; “Desperate Housewives” actress Eva Longoria; “Malcolm in the Middle” star Frankie Muniz; and Florida Sen. Mel Martinez.

“It is an honor to be selected,” Puente said, “especially considering the many other accomplished individuals on the list. I am blessed to have the opportunity to do work that I feel is my life’s calling and to have the support of wonderful colleagues at the Institute for Latino Studies.”

According to the magazine, the questions, concerns and points of view of this year’s honorees have placed them at the forefront of discussions on economic and public policy issues. The group overwhelmingly named “access to education” the top issue of policy concern and believes educators can do the best job of further empowering the U.S. Hispanic community.

Puente, who earned her master’s degree in public policy studies from the University of Chicago, has spent her career conducting community research and analyzing public policy in an effort to build strong Latino communities. Before joining the ILS, she served as New Community Initiatives director for The Resurrection Project, an organization that promotes healthy communities through education and community development in Chicago. Puente also served for eight years as director of research, public policy and advocacy for the Latino Institute of Chicago, which strives to develop links between Latino communities. In that role, she oversaw development of 90 publications on immigration, workforce development and education. In 2003 Puente, who was introduced by her mother to a life of social activism at age 13, was one of 25 Chicago-area women named a Pioneer for Social Justice.

The Metropolitan Chicago Initiative ( ) strives to enhance vibrant and socially just communities by developing policy relevant research, cultivating partnerships and expanding knowledge of Latinos in Chicago.

Contact: Sylvia Puente, 708-788-6109,

Originally published by Shannon Chapla at on October 13, 2005.