Press contact: Audrey Fischer (202) 707-0022
Public contact: Carlos Olave (202) 707-3702

September 9, 2003

Peace Corps Director Gaddi Vasquez to Deliver Hispanic Heritage Month Closing Keynote

Gaddi H. Vasquez, director of the U.S. Peace Corps, will deliver the closing keynote address of the Library’s 2003 National Hispanic Heritage Month celebration at 10 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 10, in Madison Hall on the first floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E. , Washington, D.C. The event is free and open to the public. The theme of this year’s celebration is "Honoring Our Present and Leading Our Future."

Vasquez was sworn in as the 16th director of the Peace Corps on Feb. 15, 2002. Nominated by President George W. Bush and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Vasquez is the first Hispanic American to hold this position.

A native of Carrizo Springs, Texas, Vasquez was born to migrant farm workers of Mexican descent. He began his public service career as a police officer in the City of Orange, Calif., when he was only 19-years-old and continued to serve as a reserve officer until the date of his nomination. His 22-year career in public service includes employment in city, county, state and federal government. A graduate of the University of Redlands, Vasquez is the first member of his family to earn a college degree.

Prior to his nomination to the Peace Corps, Vasquez served in the administrations of three California governors, was appointed twice to federal commissions by former President Bush, and spent several years in the corporate world as division vice president of public affairs for the Southern California Edison Company.

Vasquez has been recognized by many organizations for his leadership and community service. Most recently, Hispanic Business Magazine named him one of the 100 Most Influential Hispanics in the United States. He has been named a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International, a global network of community volunteers, and was recently awarded the William H. Booth Award by the Salvation Army. The Marine Corps Scholarship Fund has recognized him with the Globe and Anchor Award for Leadership and Service.

Vasquez has served on the boards of the Salvation Army; the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials; the Orange County Council for the Boys Scouts of America; the National Conference for Community and Justice; the St. Joseph Hospital Foundation; KOCE-TV Foundation, a PBS affiliate and Olive Crest, an organization dedicated to the protection and development of children and youth who are neglected, abandoned and abused.

He was a co-founder and honorary chairman of the Orange County Hispanic Education Fund, which has raised over $1 million to fund scholarships for Latino students in Orange County.

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PR 03-151
09/09/03
ISSN 0731-3527

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