César E. Chávez and Dolores Huerta Community Leadership Awards

The César E. Chávez and Dolores Huerta Community Leadership Awards honors the lives and legacies of these notable civil rights and social justice leaders by recognizing people from Michigan State University that demonstrate cultural commitment to diversity, teamwork, collaboration, and leadership on MSU's campus.

Winners of these awards were recognized during the annual celebration of César Chávez and Dolores Huerta program coordinated by the MSU Commemorative Planning Committee. 

 Photo of award winners


MSU Faculty of the year (Plantando Semillas Award)

This award is given to an individual who has proven to be a pilar of light and knowledge in our MSU community, stands for inclusion and equity in education in building and transforming knowledge, and is focused on developing tomorrow’s leaders. The Faculty of the Year (FOTY) award honors faculty who are committed to excellence in the five main areas of faculty performance:

  • Teaching and Learning
  • Student Success
  • Professional Development
  • Leadership and College Service
  • Community Service and Creating a College-Going Culture

2024 Award Recipient

Patricia MarinDr. Patricia Marin (Plantando Semillas Award)
Dr. Marin serves as the advisor to Rueda Latina, a graduate student organization focused on the professional development of Latinx graduate students. She is an associate professor in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education and program coordinator for the Student Affairs Administration master's program. In her role, she is known for supporting students through their graduate careers ensuring their growth and development as future student affairs practitioners and scholars in higher education. Dr. Marin is a strong advocate for helping students find a sense of belonging at Michigan State, specifically Latino/x students. Using Rueda Latina, she encourages new students, both masters and doctoral, to join Rueda and attend their events. Before Covid, Dr. Marin also opened up her home for a fall potluck where students would get to meet and greet Latinx faculty. Post-covid, she continues to help Latino/x students find their home through a series of mentorship opportunities, 1:1 guidance and support, and providing students to get involved in research.

MSU Staff of the year (Chávez Humanitarian Award)

This award is for an individual who exemplifies the spirit of community, values education, and has a strong commitment to helping others achieve greatness. The nominee is a staff member at MSU that aids and serves as a resource for students and the greater MSU community. A badge of honor that recognizes a staff members’ efforts and contributions toward propelling the University’s vision.

2024 Award Recipient

Rachel PerezRachel Perez (Chavez Humanitarian Award)
Rachel's commitment to serving as a resource extends not only to faculty, staff, and graduate student assistants but also to postdocs within the MSU community-and their family members. As she pursues her MHRLR degree from MSU, she simultaneously uplifts caregivers, parents, and individuals seeking new career opportunities, navigating caregiving, and promoting workplace wellbeing. Her multifaceted role as a mother of three and active volunteer further underscores her selflessness and dedication to others. One of Rachel's standout achievements is her exceptional leadership in various initiatives, including the supervisor training series, Take Your Child to Work Day, and the Fatherhood Forum. Through her adept navigation of important topics such as diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as her commitment to fostering family-friendly events, she has left a profound impact on the Spartan community. Consistently, we receive heartfelt feedback highlighting Rachel's unparalleled empathy, compassion, care, and professionalism in every interaction. Her genuine concern for the well-being of others shines through, making her not just an consultant, but a trusted confidante and advocate. Rachel's ability to foster a supportive and inclusive environment resonates deeply with those she serves, earning her the reputation of a true community champion. Rachel's character is characterized by kindness, compassion, and inclusivity. Her tireless efforts align seamlessly with MSU's vision of fostering a supportive and thriving community. Rachel should be considered for her outstanding service and commitment to excellence, as she embodies the true spirit of the "Community Champion Award." 

MSU Latinx Grassroots Student Organization of The Year (Cosechando Raices Award)

This award is presented to a registered student organization that has distinguished itself during its first two years of existence on campus. Also, envisioned, planned, and advocated for MSU to become a Sanctuary Campus, which demonstrates their spirit of advocacy, inclusiveness, collaboration, diversity, development, and leadership.

2024 Award Recipient

In the short time that this student organization has been an RSO, they have worked to increase their presence and mission across campus by participating in diverse outreach opportunities and working to share their story. They are a branch of NAISO and as a result, work to support students from indigenous backgrounds in south and central America. In that same regard, they have worked hard to communicate to the broader MSU community who they are and how they aim to support MSU students. More broadly, Timetzalimet also works to create a welcoming environment for all students to join and learn more about their mission and their cultures.


MSU Student (Aguila Award)

An individual who has shown courage, dedication, and a commitment to make MSU a better place who also exudes a spirit of inclusiveness, equality, and cultural commitment to diversity. Demonstrated leadership and impact through formal or informal roles within the University, and/or community. Academic excellence through research, honors, continuing education, certifications, presentations, publications, and/or participation in professional organizations.

2024 Award Recipients

George Ramirez-MadrigalGeorge Ramirez-Madrigal (Aguila Award)
As the first in his family to attend college, everything George has done on campus was a new bridge to cross. He is pursuing a degree in elementary education with a minor in Spanish and has a keen interest in Chicano/Latino Studies. Navigating new experiences led him to be a tremendous leader through one of MSU’s most tumultuous years in its history. George led Culturas De Las Razas Unidas (CRU) under extreme and unprecedented challenges—from the aftermath of a pandemic, administrative in-fighting, emboldened hate incidents against Latine students, an MSU President’s resignation, and, tragically, a shooting on campus. His poise and commitment to the Latine community kept CRU focused in a year where leadership was needed. He also served as a resident aide and represents the College of Education on ASMSU. George also worked as a student assistant for the Farmworker Outreach Services Division under the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, helping to ensure farmworkers understand their basic worker’s rights. His incredible leadership led him to be selected as a 2023 MSU Homecoming Court member because he exemplifies a true Spartan. His passion for education has allowed him to garner The Putnam Urban Education Research Fellowship—working with Lansing schools and researching topics to improve schooling. He’s also currently a mentee and as a student intern in the U.S. House of Representatives for Rep. Elissa Slotkin, he has been able to offer important insight.

Frank DuarteFrank Duarte (Aguila Award)
Frank’s positive influence and leadership have significantly contributed to the Michigan State community, embodying the values of Collaboration, Integrity, and Respect. Frank's academic pursuits in music composition have not only brought honor to himself but also to Michigan State University. His winning of the American Prize in Composition and the ASCAP PLUS Award stands as a testament to his outstanding musical talent and scholarly dedication. These accolades are a mere glimpse into Frank's relentless pursuit of academic excellence and artistic expression. He has been selected as one of 12 composers worldwide to join the 2024 Cohort for the Gabriela Ortiz Composition Studio, in collaboration with the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University. Under the guidance of Latin-Grammy-nominee Gabriela Ortiz, Frank will collaborate in workshops and masterclasses, culminating in a Diploma from Harvard DRCLAS and an Artist Diploma from Academy. Frank’s integrity is exemplified by his accomplishment as the recipient of the National 2023 American Prize in Composition for “Yag Naban,” marking him as the first Latino, Mexican-American, and Oaxacan Zapotec to receive this award. This achievement highlights his commitment to his cultural roots and excellence in his field. Frank's compositions have been performed across the United States and internationally, demonstrating his dedication to fostering cultural exchange. Frank's musical compositions have transcended geographical boundaries, receiving acclaim in in twenty different states in the US and internationally in Greece, Japan, and China. Moreover, Frank's initiative to establish the first choral composition reading sessions at MSU is a clear indication of his commitment to enhancing the cultural fabric of MSU’s institution. This innovative and inclusive program has not only provided a platform for budding composers but has also enriched the cultural experience for the entire Spartan community. Frank's academic excellence, with a GPA that exceeds the required minimum as a PhD student, combined with his extensive involvement in the FSL community and his role as a mentor and role model, makes him an ideal award winner. Within the Fraternity & Sorority Life, Frank's leadership roles in Phi Iota Alpha and Phi Mu Alpha, notably as a Provost and Fraternity Education Officer, have significantly contributed to fostering a strong sense of community, respect and cultural appreciation. His mentorship has positively shaped the lives of many individuals at Michigan State University. In his role as a Graduate Assistant, Frank has displayed an unwavering commitment to nurturing the next generation of scholars and artists. His involvement in media acting and music theory courses demonstrates his versatility and dedication to providing a comprehensive educational experience, further cementing his role as an exemplary Spartan.