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September 19, 2000

Director of White House Initiative for Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans to Deliver Hispanic Heritage Month Keynote

Sarita Brown, Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans, will deliver the keynote address for the Library of Congress 2000 National Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration. The program will begin at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 27, in the Mumford Room, sixth floor, of the Madison Building, 101 Independence S.E.

From Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, the Library of Congress celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month, a major cultural event that has been marked at the Library for several years with displays, panel discussions, artistic performances, a film series and a keynote address by a distinguished speaker. The theme of this year's celebration in "A Vision for the Future."

Sarita Brown is active in efforts to improve educational opportunities for Hispanic Americans. She assumed her current post in 1997. In this position, Ms Brown carries out Executive Order 12900, which created the Initiative for Educational Excellence. Her duties include advising the president and his administration on the status of education for Hispanic Americans from early childhood through graduate and professional education; working with 26 federal agencies to improve educational opportunities for Hispanic Americans; and assisting in increasing participation of Hispanic Americans in federal employment. With a staff of four, Ms. Brown facilitates the work of the 24-member President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans and acts as a liaison among the commission, the White House, the Department of Education and the rest of the federal government.

The Hispanic and Portuguese collections of the Library of Congress comprise more than 10 million items. For books, maps and retrospective holdings of government serials, newspapers and other periodicals, they are the most extensive collections in the world.

Ms. Brown began her career in education in 1978 at the University of Texas at Austin, where she created the Graduate Opportunity Program, a pioneering model in graduate minority education. When she left the university as an assistant graduate dean in 1993, her office had a $1 million annual budget and the institution ranked first in the nation in the number of doctoral degrees awarded to Hispanics.

Ms. Brown came to Washington in June 1993 to join the staff of the Education Trust at the American Association for Higher Education. There she was co-manager of the Community Compacts for Student Success, an education initiative funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts. In June 1995, Ms. Brown was named Senior Fellow in the Office of Minorities in Higher Education at the American Council of Education (ACE). At ACE she worked to form coalitions with other higher education groups and civil rights organizations. In November 1995, Ms. Brown was appointed Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs at American University in Washington, D.C. She worked there to improve graduate education and support faculty development. She also served as the university's diversity officer, created the "American Mosaic" seminar series, developed ALCANZA!, the University's first outreach effort to the Latino community, and promoted the university's relationship with the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, the National Association of Colleges and Universities and the American Indian Higher Education Consortium.

Ms. Brown holds a B.A. in ethnic studies and a B.S. and M.A. in communications from the University of Texas at Austin.

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PR 00-136
9/19/00
ISSN 0731-3527

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