Institute for Latino Studies | June 27, 2018
Luis Ricardo Fraga, director of the Institute for Latino Studies, has received a lifetime achievement award for excellence in community service from the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF).
Founded in 1968, the Los Angeles-based MALDEF is the leading Latino legal civil rights organization in the United States. Fraga received the honor from the organization in recognition of his continued work serving students as well as the community and his efforts to bring these two groups together.
“Luis’ legacy lies in all of the students he has mentored, both undergraduates and graduates. It lies in the research he has done that has made an impact in a practical way. And it lies, finally, in his leadership administrative capacity,” said Tom Saenz, MALDEF’s president and general counsel. “He has established a strong record of a Latino administrator thriving and making new contributions, innovating and ensuring that universities are coming closer and closer to communities that they serve.”
Fraga has contributed research to lawsuits filed by MALDEF and other civil rights organizations, such as the NAACP and ACLU, on numerous cases, including work on the 1965 Voting Rights Act with Chandler Davidson,research professor and Tsanoff Chair of Public Affairs Emeritus at Rice University.
Through that legal work, Fraga learned how academic research could be used to make influential decisions within the court system.
“What we do as scholars isn’t just research for research’s sake if we can apply our work to affecting people’s lives to help democracy become stronger,” Fraga said.
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