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The Hispanic Heritage Award honors a Latino alumna/us who distinguishes him/herself through professional work in the context of the Dominican core values of scholarship, reflection, community, and service with a sustained dedication to the advancement of the Latino community. The Hispanic Heritage Award is awarded during the Hispanic Heritage Reception each October.

2019 Hispanic Heritage Award Recipient: Hortencia Jimenez ’06

Hortencia Jimenez ’06 grew up in the remote region of El Bajio, Mexico. At the age of seven, when her father asked her what she would like to be when she grew up, she knew there were no limits to what she could achieve. As the seventh of ten children, politics and poverty did not make it easy to pursue her education. She was forced to drop out of school after the sixth grade and work full time.

After missing two full years of school, Hortencia’s older sister insisted she come to the United States. A new opportunity emerged to pursue the dreams she knew she could achieve. Her goal was a career that reflects the values of those who love the United States and want to make it a better place. Never forgetting her roots, but blending into American society, Hortencia became an active member and contributor to the community.

In 2006, Hortencia graduated with a bachelor's degree in Mathematics and Economics from Dominican University and joined the Federal Government as a Statistician. She has worked for several agencies including the Department of Transportation, Federal Drug Administration, and Census Bureau. After working for more than 8 years for the Government in Washington D.C., Hortencia’s worked evolved into IT and Analytics combining mathematics with technology. In 2017, Hortencia completed a master's degree in Aviation Administration from Middle Tennessee State University. She currently works in Aircraft Information Technology Maintenance Repair Operations involving Military Aircraft, which utilizes her strong STEM background to solve aeronautical problems. She is heavily involved in contributing innovations to the next phase of aviation.

Hortencia is passionate about preparing the leaders of tomorrow. She is an active volunteer for the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), working with youth to grow an interest in aviation, and White Plains High School, tutoring and counseling at-risk youth. Hortencia volunteers at the Newburgh Air Show that promotes awareness of pilots shortage and raises funds for military aircraft. Growing up in Guanajuato where shoes were one of the main commodities, Hortencia is currently working with shoe boutique to express designs of the threatened cactus that are unique to El Bajio. Her goal is not only to keep them alive but make the world aware that they exist. Hortencia may be one of the only members in her family to achieve a higher education, but is certainly not the only one who was influenced by her father. Her brothers are businessmen, one sister is an accomplished stylist, and others work for the school districts. Her family understands that they migrated from Mexico to the United States, but never let the barriers or chaos of social norms diminish their potential. They carry the values of faith, respect, and hard work. Hortencia has been an influence and support to her family and she is very proud that early this year she accompanied her mother to give her oath to become a U.S. citizen. 

Previous Hispanic Heritage Award Recipients

2018: Johanna Chavez Barsotti ’02

2017: Dr. Lisette Rodriguez-Cabezas ’06

2016: Gigi Benitez ’00

2015: Dora Elías McAllister ’98

2014: Erika Corona Owens ’08

2013: Rolando Galindo ’08

2012: Domenica Ottolino-Kaht ’86, MSW ’06

2011: Ramiro J. Atristaían-Carrión ’89

2010: D. Jean Ortega-Piron ’78

2009: Eric Trejo ’93, MBA ’01

2008: Hector Villagrana ’97

2007: Raul Magdaleno ’99

2006: Caroline Sanchez Crozier ’79

2005: Xochitl Espinosa ’00, Manuel Flores ’96, Aracely Barragan Lawrence ’94

To nominate an alumna/us for the Hispanic Heritage Award, click the following Nomination form and select “Hispanic Heritage Award” in the drop-down menu.

Nomination criteria include, but are not limited to:

  • Outstanding contributions in his/her professional field
  • Outstanding contributions as demonstrated by policy or program involvement of regional or national significance for the Hispanic Community
  • Distinguished community leadership whose contributions at the local community, state or national level in the areas of planning, practice, or implementation of programs have positively impacted the Hispanic community
  • Publicly recognized commitment to advancing the living conditions of the Hispanic Community
  • Commitment and dedication to advocate for the most disadvantaged sectors of the Latino community and their families

Supplemental materials that cannot be uploaded may be mailed to Office of Alumnae/i Relations, Dominican University, 7900 W. Division Street, River Forest, IL 60305. You can also fax supplemental materials to (708) 366-4197.

Please email the Office of Alumnae/i Relations at or call (708) 524-6286 with any questions regarding award nominations.