Richard J. Daley College Earns the Seal of Excelencia

One of Only 10 Institutions in Nation to Join Trendsetting Group Verified as Intentionally Serving Latino Students

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 29, 2021) – Excelencia in Education, the nation’s premier authority on efforts accelerating Latino student success in higher education, announced today that Wright College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago, has been certified with the Seal of Excelencia in 2021.

The national announcement was made this morning by Excelencia in Education during a press conference at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. James Kvaal, the U.S. Department of Education Under Secretary, delivered remarks. Wright College is one of just 10 institutions nationwide to earn Seal of Excelencia certification this year.

The 2021 cohort of 10 trendsetting institutions join a prestigious group of 14 other Seal certified institutions ensuring America’s future through their unwavering commitment to intentionally serve Latino students, while serving all.

“City Colleges of Chicago is passionately committed to supporting the academic success of Hispanic students in higher education. We are honored that Wilbur Wright College has been certified with the Seal of Excelencia for 2021 by Excelencia in Education. Our many first-year student resources, along with our summer bridge programs have aided the transition to college for many of our Latinx students. But the secret ingredient in supporting all our students, at every level, has always been our amazing faculty and staff. Every day they go above and beyond for our students. I couldn’t be prouder to accept this seal of excellence in recognition of Wright College’s service to its students and Chicago,” said Juan Salgado, Chancellor of City Colleges of Chicago.

“We recognize at Wright College that being an Hispanic Serving Institution is not about numbers, it is about service. Through the leadership, guidance and generosity of Excelencia in Education, we’ve been on an intentional and collaborative march at Wright to serve our Hispanic students and their families more effectively, to provide the education and support they deserve, to be inclusive, to build trust and confianza. Receiving the Seal of Excelencia is a tremendous honor and we are very grateful for the recognition. We also know that the Seal is a powerful reminder of the vital work that keeps us focused on our students and community,” said David Potash, PhD, President of Wilbur Wright College.

Deborah Santiago, Co-founder and CEO of Excelencia in Education, said, “Wright College and the Seal certified institutions articulated and demonstrated they are modeling the behavior we need to see to accelerate Latino student success. They are having measurable impact in changing the face of higher education.”

The proof is in the numbers. Of the thousands of colleges and universities across the country, the 135 presidents and chancellors of the 170 institutions in the organization’s network, Presidents for Latino Students Success, enroll one in four of all Latino students in higher education. More importantly, these institutions account for one in three of all Latino graduates.

Santiago added, “These 24 Seal certified institutions are trendsetters. Combined, they enrolled 10% of all Latino college students and graduated 12% of all Latinos in the U.S. That is powerful and says a lot about their intentionality.”

An institution earns the Seal by demonstrating alignment across the three core areas of data, practice, and leadership, which show:

  • Evidence of effectiveness and intentionality in institutional practices serving Latino students
  • Positive momentum for Latino student progress in their data
  • Dedication to transforming the institution into an environment where Latino students thrive
  • Strategies in leadership that clearly articulate institutional focus on advancing Latino student success

The other 2021 Seal certified institutions are:

  • California State University, Fresno (Fresno State)
  • California State University, Fullerton (CSUF)
  • Miami Dade College (MDC)
  • San Diego State University (SDSU)
  • Texas A&M University – San Antonio (TAMUSA)
  • University of California, Merced (UCM)
  • University of California, Riverside (UCR)
  • University of Central Florida (UCF)
  • University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV)

The Seal is not a ranking, nor an award. It is a rigorous verification process that culminates with certification. It is part of Excelencia’s tactical and systemic approach to:

  • Closing the education equity gap
  • Meeting a goal of 6.2 million Latino students attaining college degrees by 2030
  • Supporting America’s civic and workforce needs by effectively preparing Latinos, now the nation’s second largest ethnic population

Excelencia began Seal certification in 2019 as one of the organization’s transformational strategies to lead colleges and universities to go beyond simply enrolling Latino students. The Seal provides the means to use data and practice to instill intentionality in serving Latino students.

“We are proud that by creating the Seal of Excelencia, we have catalyzed a transformation in higher education,” said Sarita Brown, Excelencia’s Co-founder and President. “It is gratifying to see that even during a pandemic and national reckoning for social justice, we doubled the number of institutions who were Seal certified this year. That shows a need and real desire to accelerate Latino student success. Excelencia shows how institutions can lead the way through these challenging times.”

The 10 institutions earned Seal certification by demonstrating specific inclusive strategies, implementing programs with evidence of effectiveness, and registering results that showed they are intentionally serving Latino students amongst all of their students. For examples of how the institutions are intentionally serving their Latino and other post-traditional students, visit the Excelencia website.

Excelencia sees more institutions are striving to hold themselves accountable to intentionally serve Latino students with the Seal of Excelencia,” Brown said. “The institutions that earned it – as well as those striving to earn it – have told us that the Seal application process led to growth and institutional changes to better serve Latino students and all students.

“What they are accomplishing is the student success this country needs in order for the growing Latino population to be the educated workforce and engaged civic leaders our country needs now and, in the future,” Brown continued. “This is the reason we started the Seal of Excelencia in 2018. Now, it is here, and everyone can see the results happening in real time. This is a movement that is proving, unequivocally, it can be done.”

About Excelencia in Education

Excelencia in Education accelerates Latino student success in higher education by promoting Latino student achievement, conducting analysis to inform educational policies, and advancing institutional practices while collaborating with those committed and ready to meet the mission. Launched in 2004 in the nation’s capital, Excelencia has established a network of results-oriented educators and policymakers to address the U.S. economy’s needs for a highly educated workforce and engaged civic leaders. For more information, visit:

For more information about City Colleges of Chicago, visit: